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´╗┐Title: The Heart of Mid-Lothian, Complete
Author: Scott, Walter, Sir, 1771-1832
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Heart of Mid-Lothian, Complete" ***

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THE HEART OF MID-LOTHIAN

By Walter Scott



TALES OF MY LANDLORD

COLLECTED AND ARRANGED

BY JEDEDIAH CLEISHBOTHAM,

SCHOOLMASTER AND PARISH CLERK

OF GANDERCLEUGH.



SECOND SERIES.


[Illustration: Titlepage]



THE HEART OF MID-LOTHIAN.


               Hear, Land o' Cakes and brither Scots,
               Frae Maidenkirk to Johnny Groat's,
               If there's a hole in a' your coats,
                                   I rede ye tent it;
               A chiel's amang you takin' notes,
                                   An' faith he'll prent it!
                                                            Burns.



EDITOR'S INTRODUCTION TO THE HEART OF MID-LOTHIAN.

SCOTT began to work on "The Heart of Mid-Lothian" almost before he had
completed "Rob Roy." On Nov. 10, 1817, he writes to Archibald Constable
announcing that the negotiations for the sale of the story to Messrs.
Longman have fallen through, their firm declining to relieve the
Ballantynes of their worthless "stock." "So you have the staff in your
own hands, and, as you are on the spot, can manage it your own way.
Depend on it that, barring unforeseen illness or death, these will be the
best volumes which have appeared. I pique myself on the first tale, which
is called 'The Heart of Mid-Lothian.'" Sir Walter had thought of adding a
romance, "The Regalia," on the Scotch royal insignia, which had been
rediscovered in the Castle of Edinburgh. This story he never wrote. Mr.
Cadell was greatly pleased at ousting the Longmans--"they have themselves
to blame for the want of the Tales, and may grumble as they choose: we
have Taggy by the tail, and, if we have influence to keep the best author
of the day, we ought to do it."--[Archibald Constable, iii. 104.]

Though contemplated and arranged for, "The Heart of Mid-Lothian" was not
actually taken in hand till shortly after Jan. 15, 1818, when Cadell
writes that the tracts and pamphlets on the affair of Porteous are to be
collected for Scott. "The author was in great glee . . . he says that he
feels very strong with what he has now in hand." But there was much
anxiety concerning Scott's health. "I do not at all like this illness of
Scott's," said James Ballantyne to Hogg. "I have eften seen him look
jaded of late, and am afraid it is serious." "Hand your tongue, or I'll
gar you measure your length on the pavement," replied Hogg. "You fause,
down-hearted loon, that ye are, you daur to speak as if Scott were on his
death-bed! It cannot be, it must not be! I will not suffer you to speak
that gait." Scott himself complains to Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe of
"these damned spasms. The merchant Abudah's hag was a henwife to them
when they give me a real night of it."

"The Heart of Mid-Lothian," in spite of the author's malady, was
published in June 1818. As to its reception, and the criticism which it
received, Lockhart has left nothing to be gleaned. Contrary to his
custom, he has published, but without the writer's name, a letter from
Lady Louisa Stuart, which really exhausts what criticism can find to say
about the new novel. "I have not only read it myself," says Lady Louisa,
"but am in a house where everybody is tearing it out of each other's
hands, and talking of nothing else." She preferred it to all but
"Waverley," and congratulates him on having made "the perfectly good
character the most interesting. . . . Had this very story been conducted
by a common hand, Effie would have attracted all our concern and
sympathy, Jeanie only cold approbation. Whereas Jeanie, without youth,
beauty, genius, warns passions, or any other novel-perfection, is here
our object from beginning to end." Lady Louisa, with her usual frankness,
finds the Edinburgh lawyers tedious, in the introduction, and thinks that
Mr. Saddletree "will not entertain English readers." The conclusion
"flags"; "but the chief fault I have to find relates to the reappearance
and shocking fate of the boy. I hear on all sides 'Oh, I do not like
that!' I cannot say what I would have had instead, but I do not like it
either; it is a lame, huddled conclusion. I know you so well in it,
by-the-by! You grow tired yourself, want to get rid of the story, and
hardly care how." Lady Lousia adds that Sir George Staunton would never
have hazarded himself in the streets of Edinburgh. "The end of poor Madge
Wildfire is most pathetic. The meeting at Muschat's Cairn tremendous.
Dumbiedikes and Rory Beau are delightful. . . . I dare swear many of your
readers never heard of the Duke of Argyle before." She ends: "If I had
known nothing, and the whole world had told me the contrary, I should
have found you out in that one parenthesis, 'for the man was mortal, and
had been a schoolmaster.'"

Lady Louisa omits a character who was probably as essential to Scott's
scheme as any--Douce Davie Deans, the old Cameronian. He had almost been
annoyed by the criticism of his Covenanters in "Old Mortality," "the
heavy artillery out of the Christian Instructor or some such obscure
field work," and was determined to "tickle off" another. There are signs
of a war between literary Cavaliers and literary Covenanters at this
time, after the discharge of Dr. McCrie's "heavy artillery." Charles
Kirkpatrick Sharpe was presented by Surtees of Mainsforth with a
manuscript of Kirkton's unprinted "History of the Church of Scotland."
This he set forth to edite, with the determination not to "let the Whig
dogs have the best of it." Every Covenanting scandal and absurdity, such
as the old story of Mess David Williamson--"Dainty Davie"--and his
remarkable prowess, and presence of mind at Cherrytrees, was raked up,
and inserted in notes to Kirkton. Scott was Sharpe's ally in this
enterprise. "I had in the persons of my forbears a full share, you see,
of religious persecution . . . for all my greatgrandfathers were under
the ban, and I think there were hardly two of them out of jail at once."
"I think it would be most scandalous to let the godly carry it oft thus."
"It" seems to have been the editing of Kirkton. "It is very odd the
volume of Wodrow, containing the memoir of Russell concerning the murder,
is positively vanished from the library" (the Advocates' Library).
"Neither book nor receipt is to be found: surely they have stolen it in
the fear of the Lord." The truth seems to have been that Cavaliers and
Covenanters were racing for the manuscripts wherein they found smooth
stones of the brook to pelt their opponents withal. Soon after Scott
writes: "It was not without exertion and trouble that I this day detected
Russell's manuscript (the account of the murder of Sharpe by one of the
murderers), also Kirkton and one or two others, which Mr. McCrie had
removed from their place in the library and deposited in a snug and
secret corner." The Covenanters had made a raid on the ammunition of the
Cavaliers. "I have given," adds Sir Walter, "an infernal row on the
subject of hiding books in this manner." Sharpe replies that the
"villainous biographer of John Knox" (Dr. McCrie), "that canting rogue,"
is about to edite Kirkton. Sharpe therefore advertised his own edition at
once, and edited Kirkton by forced marches as it were. Scott reviewed the
book in the Quarterly (Jan. 1818). He remarked that Sharpe "had not
escaped the censure of these industrious literary gentlemen of opposite
principles, who have suffered a work always relied upon as one of their
chief authorities to lie dormant for a hundred and forty years." Their
"querulous outcries" (probably from the field-work of the Christian
Instructor) he disregards. Among the passions of this literary "bicker,"
which Scott allowed to amuse him, was Davie Deans conceived. Scott was
not going to be driven by querulous outcries off the Covenanting field,
where he erected another trophy. This time he was more friendly to the
"True Blue Presbyterians." His Scotch patriotism was one of his most
earnest feelings, the Covenanters, at worst, were essentially Scotch, and
he introduced a new Cameronian, with all the sterling honesty, the
Puritanism, the impracticable ideas of the Covenant, in contact with
changed times, and compelled to compromise.

He possessed a curious pamphlet, Haldane's "Active Testimony of the true
blue Presbyterians" (12mo, 1749). It is a most impartial work,
"containing a declaration and testimony against the late unjust invasion
of Scotland by Charles, Pretended Prince of Wales, and William, Pretended
Duke of Cumberland." Everything and everybody not Covenanted, the House
of Stuart, the House of Brunswick, the House of Hapsburg, Papists,
Prelatists and Turks, are cursed up hill and down dale, by these worthy
survivors of the Auld Leaven. Everybody except the authors, Haldane and
Leslie, "has broken the everlasting Covenant." The very Confession of
Westminster is arraigned for its laxity. "The whole Civil and Judicial
Law of God," as given to the Jews (except the ritual, polygamy, divorce,
slavery, and so forth), is to be maintained in the law of Scotland.
Sins are acknowledged, and since the Covenant every political
step--Cromwell's Protectorate, the Restoration, the Revolution, the
accession of the "Dukes of Hanover"--has been a sin. A Court of Elders
is to be established to put in execution the Law of Moses. All offenders
against the Kirk are to be "capitally punished." Stage plays are to be
suppressed by the successors of the famous convention at Lanark, Anno
1682. Toleration of all religions is "sinful," and "contrary to the word
of God." Charles Edward and the Duke of Cumberland are cursed. "Also we
reckon it a great vice in Charles, his foolish Pity and Lenity, in
sparing these profane, blasphemous Redcoats, that Providence delivered
into his hand, when, by putting them to death, this poor land might have
been eased of the heavy burden of these vermin of Hell." The Auld Leaven
swore terribly in Scotland. The atrocious cruelties of Cumberland after
Culloden are stated with much frankness and power. The German soldiers
are said to have carried off "a vast deal of Spoil and Plunder into
Germany," and the Redcoats had Plays and Diversions (cricket, probably)
on the Inch of Perth, on a Sabbath. "The Hellish, Pagan, Juggler plays
are set up and frequented with more impudence and audacity than ever."
Only the Jews, "our elder Brethren," are exempted from the curses of
Haldane and Leslie, who promise to recover for them the Holy Land. "The
Massacre in Edinburgh" in 1736, by wicked Porteous, calls for vengeance
upon the authors and abettors thereof. The army and navy are "the most
wicked and flagitious in the Universe." In fact, the True Blue Testimony
is very active indeed, and could be delivered, thanks to hellish
Toleration, with perfect safety, by Leslie and Haldane. The candour of
their eloquence assuredly proves that Davie Deans is not overdrawn;
indeed, he is much less truculent than those who actually were
testifying even after his decease.

In "The Heart of Mid-Lothian" Scott set himself to draw his own people at
their best. He had a heroine to his hand in Helen Walker, "a character so
distinguished for her undaunted love of virtue," who, unlike Jeanie
Deans, "lived and died in poverty, if not want." In 1831 he erected a
pillar over her grave in the old Covenanting stronghold of Irongray. The
inscription ends--

                   Respect the Grave of Poverty,
                   When combined with Love of Truth
                          And Dear Affection.

The sweetness, the courage, the spirit, the integrity of Jeanie Deans
have made her, of all Scott's characters, the dearest to her countrymen,
and the name of Jeanie was given to many children, in pious memory of the
blameless heroine. The foil to her, in the person of Effie, is not less
admirable. Among Scott's qualities was one rare among modern authors: he
had an affectionate toleration for his characters. If we compare Effie
with Hetty in "Adam Bede," this charming and genial quality of Scott's
becomes especially striking. Hetty and Dinah are in very much the same
situation and condition as Effie and Jeanie Deans. But Hetty is a
frivolous little animal, in whom vanity and silliness do duty for
passion: she has no heart: she is only a butterfly broken on the wheel of
the world. Doubtless there are such women in plenty, yet we feel that her
creator persecutes her, and has a kind of spite against her. This was
impossible to Scott. Effie has heart, sincerity, passion, loyalty,
despite her flightiness, and her readiness, when her chance comes, to
play the fine lady. It was distasteful to Scott to create a character not
human and sympathetic on one side or another. Thus his robber "of milder
mood," on Jeanie's journey to England, is comparatively a good fellow,
and the scoundrel Ratcliffe is not a scoundrel utterly. "'To make a Lang
tale short, I canna undertake the job. It gangs against my conscience.'
'Your conscience, Rat?' said Sharpitlaw, with a sneer, which the reader
will probably think very natural upon the occasion. 'Ou ay, sir,'
answered Ratcliffe, calmly, 'just my conscience; a body has a conscience,
though it may be ill wunnin at it. I think mine's as weel out o' the gate
as maist folk's are; and yet it's just like the noop of my elbow, it
whiles gets a bit dirl on a corner.'" Scott insists on leaving his worst
people in possession of something likeable, just as he cannot dismiss
even Captain Craigengelt without assuring us that Bucklaw made a
provision for his necessities. This is certainly a more humane way of
writing fiction than that to which we are accustomed in an age of
humanitarianism. Nor does Scott's art suffer from his kindliness, and
Effie in prison, with a heart to be broken, is not less pathetic than the
heartless Hetty, in the same condemnation.

As to her lover, Robertson, or Sir George Staunton, he certainly verges
on the melodramatic. Perhaps we know too much about the real George
Robertson, who was no heir to a title in disguise, but merely a "stabler
in Bristol" accused "at the instance of Duncan Forbes, Esq. of Culloden,
his Majesty's advocate, for the crimes of Stouthrieff, Housebreaking, and
Robbery." Robertson "kept an inn in Bristo, at Edinburgh, where the
Newcastle carrier commonly did put up," and is believed to have been a
married man. It is not very clear that the novel gains much by the
elevation of the Bristo innkeeper to a baronetcy, except in so far as
Effie's appearance in the character of a great lady is entertaining and
characteristic, and Jeanie's conquest of her own envy is exemplary. The
change in social rank calls for the tragic conclusion, about which almost
every reader agrees with the criticism of Lady Louisa Stuart and her
friends. Thus the novel "filled more pages" than Mr. Jedediah
Cleishbotham had "opined," and hence comes a languor which does not beset
the story of "Old Mortality." Scott's own love of adventure and of
stirring incidents at any cost is an excellent quality in a novelist, but
it does, in this instance, cause him somewhat to dilute those immortal
studies of Scotch character which are the strength of his genius.
The reader feels a lack of reality in the conclusion, the fatal encounter
of the father and the lost son, an incident as old as the legend of
Odysseus. But this is more than atoned for by the admirable part of Madge
Wildfire, flitting like a _feu follet_ up and down among the douce
Scotch, and the dour rioters. Madge Wildfire is no repetition of Meg
Merrilies, though both are unrestrained natural things, rebels against
the settled life, musical voices out of the past, singing forgotten songs
of nameless minstrels. Nowhere but in Shakspeare can we find such a
distraught woman as Madge Wildfire, so near akin to nature and to the
moods of "the bonny lady Moon." Only he who created Ophelia could have
conceived or rivalled the scene where Madge accompanies the hunters of
Staunton on the moonlit hill and sings her warnings to the fugitive.

                When the glede's in the blue cloud,
                      The lavrock lies still;
                When the hound's in the green-wood,
                      The hind keeps the hill.
                There's a bloodhound ranging Tinwald wood,
                      There's harness glancing sheen;
                There's a maiden sits on Tinwald brae,
                      And she sings loud between.
                O sleep ye sound, Sir James, she said,
                      When ye suld rise and ride?
                There's twenty men, wi' bow and blade,
                       Are seeking where ye hide.

The madness of Madge Wildfire has its parallel in the wildness of
Goethe's Marguerite, both of them lamenting the lost child, which, to
Madge's fancy, is now dead, now living in a dream. But the gloom that
hangs about Muschat's Cairn, the ghastly vision of "crying up Ailie
Muschat, and she and I will hae a grand bouking-washing, and bleach our
claise in the beams of the bonny Lady Moon," have a terror beyond the
German, and are unexcelled by Webster or by Ford. "But the moon, and the
dew, and the night-wind, they are just like a caller kail-blade laid on
my brow; and whiles I think the moon just shines on purpose to pleasure
me, when naebody sees her but mysell." Scott did not deal much in the
facile pathos of the death-bed, but that of Madge Wildfire has a grace of
poetry, and her latest song is the sweetest and wildest of his lyrics,
the most appropriate in its setting. When we think of the contrasts to
her--the honest, dull good-nature of Dumbiedikes; the common-sense and
humour of Mrs. Saddletree; the pragmatic pedantry of her husband;
the Highland pride, courage, and absurdity of the Captain of
Knockdander--when we consider all these so various and perfect
creations, we need not wonder that Scott was "in high glee" over "The
Heart of Mid-Lothian," "felt himself very strong," and thought that
these would be "the best volumes that have appeared." The difficulty, as
usual, is to understand how, in all this strength, he permitted himself
to be so careless over what is really by far the easiest part of the
novelist's task--the construction. But so it was; about "The Monastery"
he said, "it was written with as much care as the rest, that is, with no
care at all." His genius flowed free in its own unconscious abundance:
where conscious deliberate workmanship was needed, "the forthright
craftsman's hand," there alone he was lax and irresponsible. In
Shakspeare's case we can often account for similar incongruities by the
constraint of the old plot which he was using; but Scott was making his
own plots, or letting them make themselves. "I never could lay down a
plan, or, having laid it down, I never could adhere to it; the action of
composition always diluted some passages and abridged or omitted others;
and personages were rendered important or insignificant, not according
to their agency in the original conception of the plan, but according to
the success or otherwise with which I was able to bring them out. I only
tried to make that which I was actually writing diverting and
interesting, leaving the rest to fate. . . When I chain my mind to ideas
which are purely imaginative--for argument is a different thing--it
seems to me that the sun leaves the landscape, that I think away the
whole vivacity and spirit of my original conception, and that the
results are cold, tame, and spiritless."

In fact, Sir Walter was like the Magician who can raise spirits that,
once raised, dominate him. Probably this must ever be the case, when an
author's characters are not puppets but real creations. They then have a
will and a way of their own; a free-will which their creator cannot
predetermine and correct. Something like this appears to have been
Scott's own theory of his lack of constructive power. No one was so
assured of its absence, no one criticised it more severely than he did
himself. The Edinburgh Review about this time counselled the "Author of
Waverley" to attempt a drama, doubting only his powers of compression.
Possibly work at a drama might have been of advantage to the genius of
Scott. He was unskilled in selection and rejection, which the drama
especially demands. But he detested the idea of writing for actors, whom
he regarded as ignorant, dull, and conceited. "I shall not fine and renew
a lease of popularity upon the theatre. To write for low, ill-informed,
and conceited actors, whom you must please, for your success is
necessarily at their mercy, I cannot away with," he wrote to Southey.
"Avowedly, I will never write for the stage; if I do, 'call me horse,'"
he remarks to Terry. He wanted "neither the profit nor the shame of it."
"I do not think that the character of the audience in London is such that
one could have the least pleasure in pleasing them." He liked helping
Terry to "Terryfy" "The Heart of Mid-Lothian," and his other novels, but
he had no more desire than a senator of Rome would have had to see his
name become famous by the Theatre. This confirmed repulsion in one so
learned in the dramatic poets is a curious trait in Scott's character.
He could not accommodate his genius to the needs of the stage, and that
crown which has most potently allured most men of genius he would have
thrust away, had it been offered to him, with none of Caesar's
reluctance. At the bottom of all this lay probably the secret conviction
that his genius was his master, that it must take him where it would, on
paths where he was compelled to follow. Terse and concentrated, of set
purpose, he could not be. A notable instance of this inability occurs in
the Introductory Chapter to "The Heart of Mid-Lothian," which has
probably frightened away many modern readers. The Advocate and the Writer
to the Signet and the poor Client are persons quite uncalled for, and
their little adventure at Gandercleugh is unreal. Oddly enough, part of
their conversation is absolutely in the manner of Dickens.

"'I think,' said I, . . . 'the metropolitan county may, in that case, be
said to have a sad heart.'

"'Right as my glove, Mr. Pattieson,' added Mr. Hardie; 'and a close
heart, and a hard heart--Keep it up, Jack.'

"'And a wicked heart, and a poor heart,' answered Halkit, doing his best.

"'And yet it may be called in some sort a strong heart, and a high
heart,' rejoined the advocate. 'You see I can put you both out of
heart.'"

Fortunately we have no more of this easy writing, which makes such very
melancholy reading.

The narrative of the Porteous mob, as given by the novelist, is not, it
seems, entirely accurate. Like most artists, Sir Walter took the liberty
of "composing" his picture. In his "Illustrations of the Author of
Waverley" (1825) Mr. Robert Chambers records the changes in facts made by
Scott. In the first place, Wilson did not attack his guard, and enable
Robertson to escape, after the sermon, but as soon as the criminals took
their seats in the pew. When fleeing out, Robertson tripped over "the
plate," set on a stand to receive alms and oblations, whereby he hurt
himself, and was seen to stagger and fall in running down the stairs
leading to the Cowgate. Mr. McQueen, Minister of the New Kirk, was coming
up the stairs. He conceived it to be his duty to set Robertson on his
feet again, "and covered his retreat as much as possible from the pursuit
of the guard." Robertson ran up the Horse Wynd, out at Potter Row Port,
got into the King's Park, and headed for the village of Duddingston,
beside the loch on the south-east of Arthur's Seat. He fainted after
jumping a dyke, but was picked up and given some refreshment. He lay in
hiding till he could escape to Holland.

The conspiracy to hang Porteous did not, in fact, develop in a few hours,
after his failure to appear on the scaffold. The Queen's pardon (or a
reprieve) reached Edinburgh on Thursday, Sept. 2; the Riot occurred on
the night of Sept. 7. The council had been informed that lynching was
intended, thirty-six hours before the fatal evening, but pronounced the
reports to be "caddies' clatters." Their negligence, of course, must have
increased the indignation of the Queen. The riot, according to a very old
man, consulted by Mr. Chambers, was headed by two butchers, named
Cumming, "tall, strong, and exceedingly handsome men, who dressed in
women's clothes as a disguise." The rope was tossed out of a window in a
"small wares shop" by a woman, who received a piece of gold in exchange.
This extravagance is one of the very few points which suggest that people
of some wealth may have been concerned in the affair. Tradition,
according to Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe, believed in noble leaders of the
riot. It is certain that several witnesses of good birth and position
testified very strongly against Porteous, at his trial.

According to Hogg, Scott's "fame was now so firmly established that he
cared not a fig for the opinion of his literary friends beforehand." He
was pleased, however, by the notice of "Ivanhoe," "The Heart of
Mid-Lothian," and "The Bride of Lammermoor" in the Edinburgh Review of
1820, as he showed by quoting part of its remarks. The Reviewer frankly
observed "that, when we began with one of these works, we were conscious
that we never knew how to leave off. The Porteous mob is rather heavily
described, and the whole part of George Robertson, or Staunton, is
extravagant and displeasing. The final catastrophe is needlessly
improbable and startling." The critic felt that he must be critical, but
his praise of Effie and Jeanie Deans obviously comes from his heart.
Jeanie's character "is superior to anything we can recollect in the
history of invention . . . a remarkable triumph over the greatest of all
difficulties in the conduct of a fictitious narrative." The critique
ends with "an earnest wish that the Author would try his hand in the
lore of Shakspeare"; but, wiser than the woers of Penelope, Scott
refused to make that perilous adventure.
                                             ANDREW LANG.


An essay by Mr. George Ormond, based on manuscripts in the Edinburgh
Record office (Scottish Review, July, 1892), adds little to what is known
about the Porteous Riot. It is said that Porteous was let down alive, and
hanged again, more than once, that his arm was broken by a Lochaber axe,
and that a torch was applied to the foot from which the shoe had fallen.
A pamphlet of 1787 says that Robertson became a spy on smugglers in
Holland, returned to London, procured a pardon through the Butcher
Cumberland, and "at last died in misery in London." It is plain that
Colonel Moyle might have rescued Porteous, but he was naturally cautious
about entering the city gates without a written warrant from the civil
authorities.



                        TO THE BEST OF PATRONS,
                     A PLEASED AND INDULGENT READER


                          JEDEDIAH CLEISHBOTHAM
              WISHES HEALTH, AND INCREASE, AND CONTENTMENT.

Courteous Reader,

If ingratitude comprehendeth every vice, surely so foul a stain worst of
all beseemeth him whose life has been devoted to instructing youth in
virtue and in humane letters. Therefore have I chosen, in this
prolegomenon, to unload my burden of thanks at thy feet, for the favour
with which thou last kindly entertained the Tales of my Landlord. Certes,
if thou hast chuckled over their factious and festivous descriptions, or
hadst thy mind filled with pleasure at the strange and pleasant turns of
fortune which they record, verily, I have also simpered when I beheld a
second storey with attics, that has arisen on the basis of my small
domicile at Gandercleugh, the walls having been aforehand pronounced by
Deacon Barrow to be capable of enduring such an elevation. Nor has it
been without delectation that I have endued a new coat (snuff-brown, and
with metal buttons), having all nether garments corresponding thereto. We
do therefore lie, in respect of each other, under a reciprocation of
benefits, whereof those received by me being the most solid (in respect
that a new house and a new coat are better than a new tale and an old
song), it is meet that my gratitude should be expressed with the louder
voice and more preponderating vehemence. And how should it be so
expressed?--Certainly not in words only, but in act and deed. It is with
this sole purpose, and disclaiming all intention of purchasing that
pendicle or poffle of land called the Carlinescroft, lying adjacent to my
garden, and measuring seven acres, three roods, and four perches, that I
have committed to the eyes of those who thought well of the former tomes,
these four additional volumes of the Tales of my Landlord. Not the less,
if Peter Prayfort be minded to sell the said poffle, it is at his own
choice to say so; and, peradventure, he may meet with a purchaser: unless
(gentle reader) the pleasing pourtraictures of Peter Pattieson, now given
unto thee in particular, and unto the public in general, shall have lost
their favour in thine eyes, whereof I am no way distrustful. And so much
confidence do I repose in thy continued favour, that, should thy lawful
occasions call thee to the town of Gandercleugh, a place frequented by
most at one time or other in their lives, I will enrich thine eyes with a
sight of those precious manuscripts whence thou hast derived so much
delectation, thy nose with a snuff from my mull, and thy palate with a
dram from my bottle of strong waters, called by the learned of
Gandercleugh, the Dominie's Dribble o' Drink.

It is there, O highly esteemed and beloved reader, thou wilt be able to
bear testimony, through the medium of thine own senses, against the
children of vanity, who have sought to identify thy friend and servant
with I know not what inditer of vain fables; who hath cumbered the world
with his devices, but shrunken from the responsibility thereof. Truly,
this hath been well termed a generation hard of faith; since what can a
man do to assert his property in a printed tome, saving to put his name
in the title-page thereof, with his description, or designation, as the
lawyers term it, and place of abode? Of a surety I would have such
sceptics consider how they themselves would brook to have their works
ascribed to others, their names and professions imputed as forgeries, and
their very existence brought into question; even although, peradventure,
it may be it is of little consequence to any but themselves, not only
whether they are living or dead, but even whether they ever lived or no.
Yet have my maligners carried their uncharitable censures still farther.

These cavillers have not only doubted mine identity, although thus
plainly proved, but they have impeached my veracity and the authenticity
of my historical narratives! Verily, I can only say in answer, that I
have been cautelous in quoting mine authorities. It is true, indeed, that
if I had hearkened with only one ear, I might have rehearsed my tale with
more acceptation from those who love to hear but half the truth. It is,
it may hap, not altogether to the discredit of our kindly nation of
Scotland, that we are apt to take an interest, warm, yea partial, in the
deeds and sentiments of our forefathers. He whom his adversaries describe
as a perjured Prelatist, is desirous that his predecessors should be held
moderate in their power, and just in their execution of its privileges,
when truly, the unimpassioned peruser of the annals of those times shall
deem them sanguinary, violent, and tyrannical. Again, the representatives
of the suffering Nonconformists desire that their ancestors, the
Cameronians, shall be represented not simply as honest enthusiasts,
oppressed for conscience' sake, but persons of fine breeding, and valiant
heroes. Truly, the historian cannot gratify these predilections. He must
needs describe the cavaliers as proud and high-spirited, cruel,
remorseless, and vindictive; the suffering party as honourably tenacious
of their opinions under persecution; their own tempers being, however,
sullen, fierce, and rude; their opinions absurd and extravagant; and
their whole course of conduct that of persons whom hellebore would better
have suited than prosecutions unto death for high-treason. Natheless,
while such and so preposterous were the opinions on either side, there
were, it cannot be doubted, men of virtue and worth on both, to entitle
either party to claim merit from its martyrs. It has been demanded of me,
Jedediah Cleishbotham, by what right I am entitled to constitute myself
an impartial judge of their discrepancies of opinions, seeing (as it is
stated) that I must necessarily have descended from one or other of the
contending parties, and be, of course, wedded for better or for worse,
according to the reasonable practice of Scotland, to its dogmata, or
opinions, and bound, as it were, by the tie matrimonial, or, to speak
without metaphor, _ex jure sanguinis,_ to maintain them in preference to
all others.

But, nothing denying the rationality of the rule, which calls on all now
living to rule their political and religious opinions by those of their
great-grandfathers, and inevitable as seems the one or the other horn of
the dilemma betwixt which my adversaries conceive they have pinned me to
the wall, I yet spy some means of refuge, and claim a privilege to write
and speak of both parties with impartiality. For, O ye powers of logic!
when the Prelatists and Presbyterians of old times went together by the
ears in this unlucky country, my ancestor (venerated be his memory!) was
one of the people called Quakers, and suffered severe handling from
either side, even to the extenuation of his purse and the incarceration
of his person.

Craving thy pardon, gentle Reader, for these few words concerning me and
mine, I rest, as above expressed, thy sure and obligated friend,*

J. C.
GANDERCLEUGH,
this 1st of April, 1818.

* Note A. Author's connection with Quakerism.



INTRODUCTION TO THE HEART OF MID-LOTHIAN--(1830).


The author has stated, in the preface to the Chronicles of the Canongate,
1827, that he received from an anonymous correspondent an account of the
incident upon which the following story is founded. He is now at liberty
to say, that the information was conveyed to him by a late amiable and
ingenious lady, whose wit and power of remarking and judging of character
still survive in the memory of her friends. Her maiden name was Miss
Helen Lawson, of Girthhead, and she was wife of Thomas Goldie, Esq. of
Craigmuie, Commissary of Dumfries.

Her communication was in these words:--

"I had taken for summer lodgings a cottage near the old Abbey of
Lincluden. It had formerly been inhabited by a lady who had pleasure in
embellishing cottages, which she found perhaps homely and even poor
enough; mine, therefore, possessed many marks of taste and elegance
unusual in this species of habitation in Scotland, where a cottage is
literally what its name declares.

"From my cottage door I had a partial view of the old Abbey before
mentioned; some of the highest arches were seen over, and some through,
the trees scattered along a lane which led down to the ruin, and the
strange fantastic shapes of almost all those old ashes accorded
wonderfully well with the building they at once shaded and ornamented.

"The Abbey itself from my door was almost on a level with the cottage;
but on coming to the end of the lane, it was discovered to be situated on
a high perpendicular bank, at the foot of which run the clear waters of
the Cluden, where they hasten to join the sweeping Nith,

                 'Whose distant roaring swells and fa's.'

As my kitchen and parlour were not very far distant, I one day went in to
purchase some chickens from a person I heard offering them for sale. It
was a little, rather stout-looking woman, who seemed to be between
seventy and eighty years of age; she was almost covered with a tartan
plaid, and her cap had over it a black silk hood, tied under the chin, a
piece of dress still much in use among elderly women of that rank of life
in Scotland; her eyes were dark, and remarkably lively and intelligent; I
entered into conversation with her, and began by asking how she
maintained herself, etc.

"She said that in winter she footed stockings, that is, knit feet to
country-people's stockings, which bears about the same relation to
stocking-knitting that cobbling does to shoe-making, and is of course
both less profitable and less dignified; she likewise taught a few
children to read, and in summer she whiles reared a few chickens.

"I said I could venture to guess from her face she had never been
married. She laughed heartily at this, and said, 'I maun hae the queerest
face that ever was seen, that ye could guess that. Now, do tell me,
madam, how ye cam to think sae?' I told her it was from her cheerful
disengaged countenance. She said, 'Mem, have ye na far mair reason to be
happy than me, wi' a gude husband and a fine family o' bairns, and plenty
o' everything? for me, I'm the puirest o' a' puir bodies, and can hardly
contrive to keep mysell alive in a' the wee bits o' ways I hae tell't
ye.' After some more conversation, during which I was more and more
pleased with the old womans sensible conversation, and the _naivete_ of
her remarks, she rose to go away, when I asked her name. Her countenance
suddenly clouded, and she said gravely, rather colouring, 'My name is
Helen Walker; but your husband kens weel about me.'

"In the evening I related how much I had been pleased, and inquired what
was extraordinary in the history of the poor woman. Mr. ---- said, there
were perhaps few more remarkable people than Helen Walker. She had been
left an orphan, with the charge of a sister considerably younger than
herself, and who was educated and maintained by her exertions. Attached
to herby so many ties, therefore, it will not be easy to conceive her
feelings, when she found that this only sister must be tried by the laws
of her country for child-murder, and upon being called as principal
witness against her. The counsel for the prisoner told Helen, that if she
could declare that her sister had made any preparations, however slight,
or had given her any intimation on the subject, that such a statement
would save her sister's life, as she was the principal witness against
her. Helen said, 'It is impossible for me to swear to a falsehood; and,
whatever may be the consequence, I will give my oath according to my
conscience.'

"The trial came on, and the sister was found guilty and condemned; but in
Scotland six weeks must elapse between the sentence and the execution,
and Helen Walker availed herself of it. The very day of her sister's
condemnation she got a petition drawn, stating the peculiar circumstances
of the case, and that very night set out on foot to London.

"Without introduction or recommendation, with her simple (perhaps
ill-expressed) petition, drawn up by some inferior clerk of the court,
she presented herself, in her tartan plaid and country attire, to the
late Duke of Argyle, who immediately procured the pardon she petitioned
for, and Helen returned with it on foot just in time to save her sister.

"I was so strongly interested by this narrative, that I determined
immediately to prosecute my acquaintance with Helen Walker; but as I was
to leave the country next day, I was obliged to defer it till my return
in spring, when the first walk I took was to Helen Walker's cottage.

"She had died a short time before. My regret was extreme, and I
endeavoured to obtain some account of Helen from an old woman who
inhabited the other end of her cottage. I inquired if Helen ever spoke of
her past history--her journey to London, etc., 'Na,' the old woman said,
'Helen was a wily body, and whene'er ony o' the neebors asked anything
about it, she aye turned the conversation.'

"In short, every answer I received only tended to increase my regret, and
raise my opinion of Helen Walker, who could unite so much prudence with
so much heroic virtue."

This narrative was inclosed in the following letter to the author,
without date or signature--

"Sir,--The occurrence just related happened to me twenty-six years ago.
Helen Walker lies buried in the churchyard of Irongray, about six miles
from Dumfries. I once proposed that a small monument should have been
erected to commemorate so remarkable a character, but I now prefer
leaving it to you to perpetuate her memory in a more durable manner."

The reader is now able to judge how far the author has improved upon, or
fallen short of, the pleasing and interesting sketch of high principle
and steady affection displayed by Helen Walker, the prototype of the
fictitious Jeanie Deans. Mrs. Goldie was unfortunately dead before the
author had given his name to these volumes, so he lost all opportunity of
thanking that lady for her highly valuable communication. But her
daughter, Miss Goldie, obliged him with the following additional
information:--

"Mrs. Goldie endeavoured to collect further particulars of Helen Walker,
particularly concerning her journey to London, but found this nearly
impossible; as the natural dignity of her character, and a high sense of
family respectability, made her so indissolubly connect her sister's
disgrace with her own exertions, that none of her neighbours durst ever
question her upon the subject. One old woman, a distant relation of
Helen's, and who is still living, says she worked an harvest with her,
but that she never ventured to ask her about her sister's trial, or her
journey to London; 'Helen,' she added, 'was a lofty body, and used a high
style o' language.' The same old woman says, that every year Helen
received a cheese from her sister, who lived at Whitehaven, and that she
always sent a liberal portion of it to herself, or to her father's
family. This fact, though trivial in itself, strongly marks the affection
subsisting between the two sisters, and the complete conviction on the
mind of the criminal that her sister had acted solely from high
principle, not from any want of feeling, which another small but
characteristic trait will further illustrate. A gentleman, a relation of
Mrs. Goldie's, who happened to be travelling in the North of England, on
coming to a small inn, was shown into the parlour by a female servant,
who, after cautiously shutting the door, said, 'Sir, I'm Nelly Walker's
sister.' Thus practically showing that she considered her sister as
better known by her high conduct than even herself by a different kind of
celebrity.

"Mrs. Goldie was extremely anxious to have a tombstone and an inscription
upon it erected in Irongray Churchyard; and if Sir Walter Scott will
condescend to write the last, a little subscription could be easily
raised in the immediate neighbourhood, and Mrs. Goldie's wish be thus
fulfilled."

It is scarcely necessary to add that the request of Miss Goldie will be
most willingly complied with, and without the necessity of any tax on the
public.* Nor is there much occasion to repeat how much the author
conceives himself obliged to his unknown correspondent, who thus supplied
him with a theme affording such a pleasing view of the moral dignity of
virtue, though unaided by birth, beauty, or talent. If the picture has
suffered in the execution, it is from the failure of the author's powers
to present in detail the same simple and striking portrait exhibited in
Mrs. Goldie's letter.

Abbotsford, April 1, 1830.

* [Note B. Tombstone to Helen Walker.]



POSTSCRIPT.


Although it would be impossible to add much to Mrs. Goldie's picturesque
and most interesting account of Helen Walker, the prototype of the
imaginary Jeanie Deans, the Editor may be pardoned for introducing two or
three anecdotes respecting that excellent person, which he has collected
from a volume entitled, _Sketches from Nature,_ by John M'Diarmid, a
gentleman who conducts an able provincial paper in the town of Dumfries.

Helen was the daughter of a small farmer in a place called Dalwhairn, in
the parish of Irongray; where, after the death of her father, she
continued, with the unassuming piety of a Scottish peasant, to support
her mother by her own unremitted labour and privations; a case so common,
that even yet, I am proud to say, few of my countrywomen would shrink
from the duty.

Helen Walker was held among her equals _pensy,_ that is, proud or
conceited; but the facts brought to prove this accusation seem only to
evince a strength of character superior to those around her. Thus it was
remarked, that when it thundered, she went with her work and her Bible to
the front of the cottage, alleging that the Almighty could smite in the
city as well as in the field.

Mr. M'Diarmid mentions more particularly the misfortune of her sister,
which he supposes to have taken place previous to 1736. Helen Walker,
declining every proposal of saving her relation's life at the expense of
truth, borrowed a sum of money sufficient for her journey, walked the
whole distance to London barefoot, and made her way to John Duke of
Argyle. She was heard to say, that, by the Almighty strength, she had
been enabled to meet the Duke at the most critical moment, which, if
lost, would have caused the inevitable forfeiture of her sister's life.

Isabella, or Tibby Walker, saved from the fate which impended over her,
was married by the person who had wronged her (named Waugh), and lived
happily for great part of a century, uniformly acknowledging the
extraordinary affection to which she owed her preservation.

Helen Walker died about the end of the year 1791, and her remains are
interred in the churchyard of her native parish of Irongray, in a
romantic cemetery on the banks of the Cairn. That a character so
distinguished for her undaunted love of virtue, lived and died in
poverty, if not want, serves only to show us how insignificant, in the
sight of Heaven, are our principal objects of ambition upon earth.



INTRODUCTORY

              So down thy hill, romantic Ashbourn, glides
                The Derby dilly, carrying six insides.
                                                            Frere.

The times have changed in nothing more (we follow as we were wont the
manuscript of Peter Pattieson) than in the rapid conveyance of
intelligence and communication betwixt one part of Scotland and another.
It is not above twenty or thirty years, according to the evidence of many
credible witnesses now alive, since a little miserable horse-cart,
performing with difficulty a journey of thirty miles _per diem,_ carried
our mails from the capital of Scotland to its extremity. Nor was Scotland
much more deficient in these accommodations than our rich sister had been
about eighty years before. Fielding, in his Tom Jones, and Farquhar, in a
little farce called the Stage-Coach, have ridiculed the slowness of these
vehicles of public accommodation. According to the latter authority, the
highest bribe could only induce the coachman to promise to anticipate by
half-an-hour the usual time of his arrival at the Bull and Mouth.

But in both countries these ancient, slow, and sure modes of conveyance
are now alike unknown; mail-coach races against mail-coach, and
high-flyer against high-flyer, through the most remote districts of
Britain. And in our village alone, three post-coaches, and four coaches
with men armed, and in scarlet cassocks, thunder through the streets each
day, and rival in brilliancy and noise the invention of the celebrated
tyrant:--

              Demens, qui nimbos et non imitabile fulmen,
             AEre et cornipedum pulsu, simularat, equorum.

Now and then, to complete the resemblance, and to correct the presumption
of the venturous charioteers, it does happen that the career of these
dashing rivals of Salmoneus meets with as undesirable and violent a
termination as that of their prototype. It is on such occasions that the
Insides and Outsides, to use the appropriate vehicular phrases, have
reason to rue the exchange of the slow and safe motion of the ancient
Fly-coaches, which, compared with the chariots of Mr. Palmer, so ill
deserve the name. The ancient vehicle used to settle quietly down, like a
ship scuttled and left to sink by the gradual influx of the waters, while
the modern is smashed to pieces with the velocity of the same vessel
hurled against breakers, or rather with the fury of a bomb bursting at
the conclusion of its career through the air. The late ingenious Mr.
Pennant, whose humour it was to set his face in stern opposition to these
speedy conveyances, had collected, I have heard, a formidable list of
such casualties, which, joined to the imposition of innkeepers, whose
charges the passengers had no time to dispute, the sauciness of the
coachman, and the uncontrolled and despotic authority of the tyrant
called the guard, held forth a picture of horror, to which murder, theft,
fraud, and peculation, lent all their dark colouring. But that which
gratifies the impatience of the human disposition will be practised in
the teeth of danger, and in defiance of admonition; and, in despite of
the Cambrian antiquary, mail-coaches not only roll their thunders round
the base of Penman-Maur and Cader-Idris, but

                      Frighted Skiddaw hears afar
                      The rattling of the unscythed car.

And perhaps the echoes of Ben Nevis may soon be awakened by the bugle,
not of a warlike chieftain, but of the guard of a mail-coach.

It was a fine summer day, and our little school had obtained a
half-holiday, by the intercession of a good-humoured visitor.*

* His honour Gilbert Goslinn of Gandercleugh; for I love to be precise in
matters of importance.--J. C.

I expected by the coach a new number of an interesting periodical
publication, and walked forward on the highway to meet it, with the
impatience which Cowper has described as actuating the resident in the
country when longing for intelligence from the mart of news.--

                                      The grand debate,
                    The popular harangue,--the tart reply,--
                    The logic, and the wisdom, and the wit,
                    And the loud laugh,--I long to know them all;--
                    I burn to set the imprisoned wranglers free,
                    And give them voice and utterance again.

It was with such feelings that I eyed the approach of the new coach,
lately established on our road, and known by the name of the Somerset,
which, to say truth, possesses some interest for me, even when it conveys
no such important information. The distant tremulous sound of its wheels
was heard just as I gained the summit of the gentle ascent, called the
Goslin-brae, from which you command an extensive view down the valley of
the river Gander. The public road, which comes up the side of that
stream, and crosses it at a bridge about a quarter of a mile from the
place where I was standing, runs partly through enclosures and
plantations, and partly through open pasture land. It is a childish
amusement perhaps,--but my life has been spent with children, and why
should not my pleasures be like theirs?--childish as it is then, I must
own I have had great pleasure in watching the approach of the carriage,
where the openings of the road permit it to be seen. The gay glancing of
the equipage, its diminished and toy-like appearance at a distance,
contrasted with the rapidity of its motion, its appearance and
disappearance at intervals, and the progressively increasing sounds that
announce its nearer approach, have all to the idle and listless
spectator, who has nothing more important to attend to, something of
awakening interest. The ridicule may attach to me, which is flung upon
many an honest citizen, who watches from the window of his villa the
passage of the stage-coach; but it is a very natural source of amusement
notwithstanding, and many of those who join in the laugh are perhaps not
unused to resort to it in secret.

On the present occasion, however, fate had decreed that I should not
enjoy the consummation of the amusement by seeing the coach rattle past
me as I sat on the turf, and hearing the hoarse grating voice of the
guard as he skimmed forth for my grasp the expected packet, without the
carriage checking its course for an instant. I had seen the vehicle
thunder down the hill that leads to the bridge with more than its usual
impetuosity, glittering all the while by flashes from a cloudy tabernacle
of the dust which it had raised, and leaving a train behind it on the
road resembling a wreath of summer mist. But it did not appear on the top
of the nearer bank within the usual space of three minutes, which
frequent observation had enabled me to ascertain was the medium time for
crossing the bridge and mounting the ascent. When double that space had
elapsed, I became alarmed, and walked hastily forward. As I came in sight
of the bridge, the cause of delay was too manifest, for the Somerset had
made a summerset in good earnest, and overturned so completely, that it
was literally resting upon the ground, with the roof undermost, and the
four wheels in the air. The "exertions of the guard and coachman," both
of whom were gratefully commemorated in the newspapers, having succeeded
in disentangling the horses by cutting the harness, were now proceeding
to extricate the insides by a sort of summary and Caesarean process of
delivery, forcing the hinges from one of the doors which they could not
open otherwise. In this manner were two disconsolate damsels set at
liberty from the womb of the leathern conveniency. As they immediately
began to settle their clothes, which were a little deranged, as may be
presumed, I concluded they had received no injury, and did not venture to
obtrude my services at their toilette, for which, I understand, I have
since been reflected upon by the fair sufferers. The _outsides,_ who must
have been discharged from their elevated situation by a shock resembling
the springing of a mine, escaped, nevertheless, with the usual allowance
of scratches and bruises, excepting three, who, having been pitched into
the river Gander, were dimly seen contending with the tide like the
relics of AEneas's shipwreck,--

                  Rari apparent mantes in gurgite vasto.

I applied my poor exertions where they seemed to be most needed, and with
the assistance of one or two of the company who had escaped unhurt,
easily succeeded in fishing out two of the unfortunate passengers, who
were stout active young fellows; and, but for the preposterous length of
their greatcoats, and the equally fashionable latitude and longitude of
their Wellington trousers, would have required little assistance from any
one. The third was sickly and elderly, and might have perished but for
the efforts used to preserve him.

When the two greatcoated gentlemen had extricated themselves from the
river, and shaken their ears like huge water-dogs, a violent altercation
ensued betwixt them and the coachman and guard, concerning the cause of
their overthrow. In the course of the squabble, I observed that both my
new acquaintances belonged to the law, and that their professional
sharpness was likely to prove an overmatch for the surly and official
tone of the guardians of the vehicle. The dispute ended in the guard
assuring the passengers that they should have seats in a heavy coach
which would pass that spot in less than half-an-hour, provided it were
not full. Chance seemed to favour this arrangement, for when the expected
vehicle, arrived, there were only two places occupied in a carriage which
professed to carry six. The two ladies who had been disinterred out of
the fallen vehicle were readily admitted, but positive objections were
stated by those previously in possession to the admittance of the two
lawyers, whose wetted garments being much of the nature of well-soaked
sponges, there was every reason to believe they would refund a
considerable part of the water they had collected, to the inconvenience
of their fellow-passengers. On the other hand, the lawyers rejected a
seat on the roof, alleging that they had only taken that station for
pleasure for one stage, but were entitled in all respects to free egress
and regress from the interior, to which their contract positively
referred. After some altercation, in which something was said upon the
edict _Nautae caupones stabularii,_ the coach went off, leaving the
learned gentlemen to abide by their action of damages.

They immediately applied to me to guide them to the next village and the
best inn; and from the account I gave them of the Wallace Head, declared
they were much better pleased to stop there than to go forward upon the
terms of that impudent scoundrel the guard of the Somerset. All that they
now wanted was a lad to carry their travelling bags, who was easily
procured from an adjoining cottage; and they prepared to walk forward,
when they found there was another passenger in the same deserted
situation with themselves. This was the elderly and sickly-looking
person, who had been precipitated into the river along with the two young
lawyers. He, it seems, had been too modest to push his own plea against
the coachman when he saw that of his betters rejected, and now remained
behind with a look of timid anxiety, plainly intimating that he was
deficient in those means of recommendation which are necessary passports
to the hospitality of an inn.

I ventured to call the attention of the two dashing young blades, for
such they seemed, to the desolate condition of their fellow-traveller.
They took the hint with ready good-nature.

"O, true, Mr. Dunover," said one of the youngsters, "you must not remain
on the pave' here; you must go and have some dinner with us--Halkit and I
must have a post-chaise to go on, at all events, and we will set you down
wherever suits you best."

The poor man, for such his dress, as well as his diffidence, bespoke him,
made the sort of acknowledging bow by which says a Scotsman, "It's too
much honour for the like of me;" and followed humbly behind his gay
patrons, all three besprinkling the dusty road as they walked along with
the moisture of their drenched garments, and exhibiting the singular and
somewhat ridiculous appearance of three persons suffering from the
opposite extreme of humidity, while the summer sun was at its height, and
everything else around them had the expression of heat and drought. The
ridicule did not escape the young gentlemen themselves, and they had made
what might be received as one or two tolerable jests on the subject
before they had advanced far on their peregrination.

"We cannot complain, like Cowley," said one of them, "that Gideon's
fleece remains dry, while all around is moist; this is the reverse of the
miracle."

"We ought to be received with gratitude in this good town; we bring a
supply of what they seem to need most," said Halkit.

"And distribute it with unparalleled generosity," replied his companion;
"performing the part of three water-carts for the benefit of their dusty
roads."

"We come before them, too," said Halkit, "in full professional
force--counsel and agent"--

"And client," said the young advocate, looking behind him; and then
added, lowering his voice, "that looks as if he had kept such dangerous
company too long."

It was, indeed, too true, that the humble follower of the gay young men
had the threadbare appearance of a worn-out litigant, and I could not but
smile at the conceit, though anxious to conceal my mirth from the object
of it.

When we arrived at the Wallace Inn, the elder of the Edinburgh gentlemen,
and whom I understood to be a barrister, insisted that I should remain
and take part of their dinner; and their inquiries and demands speedily
put my landlord and his whole family in motion to produce the best cheer
which the larder and cellar afforded, and proceed to cook it to the best
advantage, a science in which our entertainers seemed to be admirably
skilled. In other respects they were lively young men, in the hey-day of
youth and good spirits, playing the part which is common to the higher
classes of the law at Edinburgh, and which nearly resembles that of the
young Templars in the days of Steele and Addison. An air of giddy gaiety
mingled with the good sense, taste, and information which their
conversation exhibited; and it seemed to be their object to unite the
character of men of fashion and lovers of the polite arts. A fine
gentleman, bred up in the thorough idleness and inanity of pursuit, which
I understand is absolutely necessary to the character in perfection,
might in all probability have traced a tinge of professional pedantry
which marked the barrister in spite of his efforts, and something of
active bustle in his companion, and would certainly have detected more
than a fashionable mixture of information and animated interest in the
language of both. But to me, who had no pretensions to be so critical, my
companions seemed to form a very happy mixture of good-breeding and
liberal information, with a disposition to lively rattle, pun, and jest,
amusing to a grave man, because it is what he himself can least easily
command.

The thin pale-faced man, whom their good-nature had brought into their
society, looked out of place as well as out of spirits; sate on the edge
of his seat, and kept the chair at two feet distance from the table; thus
incommoding himself considerably in conveying the victuals to his mouth,
as if by way of penance for partaking of them in the company of his
superiors. A short time after dinner, declining all entreaty to partake
of the wine, which circulated freely round, he informed himself of the
hour when the chaise had been ordered to attend; and saying he would be
in readiness, modestly withdrew from the apartment.

"Jack," said the barrister to his companion, "I remember that poor
fellow's face; you spoke more truly than you were aware of; he really is
one of my clients, poor man."

"Poor man!" echoed Halkit--"I suppose you mean he is your one and only
client?"

"That's not my fault, Jack," replied the other, whose name I discovered
was Hardie. "You are to give me all your business, you know; and if you
have none, the learned gentleman here knows nothing can come of nothing."

"You seem to have brought something to nothing though, in the case of
that honest man. He looks as if he were just about to honour with his
residence the Heart of Mid-Lothian."

"You are mistaken--he is just delivered from it.--Our friend here looks
for an explanation. Pray, Mr. Pattieson, have you been in Edinburgh?"

I answered in the affirmative.

"Then you must have passed, occasionally at least, though probably not so
faithfully as I am doomed to do, through a narrow intricate passage,
leading out of the north-west corner of the Parliament Square, and
passing by a high and antique building with turrets and iron grates,

                         Making good the saying odd,
                         'Near the church and far from God'"--

Mr. Halkit broke in upon his learned counsel, to contribute his moiety to
the riddle--"Having at the door the sign of the Red man"--

"And being on the whole," resumed the counsellor interrupting his friend
in his turn, "a sort of place where misfortune is happily confounded with
guilt, where all who are in wish to get out"--

"And where none who have the good luck to be out, wish to get in," added
his companion.

"I conceive you, gentlemen," replied I; "you mean the prison."

"The prison," added the young lawyer--"You have hit it--the very reverend
Tolbooth itself; and let me tell you, you are obliged to us for
describing it with so much modesty and brevity; for with whatever
amplifications we might have chosen to decorate the subject, you lay
entirely at our mercy, since the Fathers Conscript of our city have
decreed that the venerable edifice itself shall not remain in existence
to confirm or to confute its."

"Then the Tolbooth of Edinburgh is called the Heart of Mid-Lothian?" said
I.

"So termed and reputed, I assure you."

"I think," said I, with the bashful diffidence with which a man lets slip
a pun in presence of his superiors, "the metropolitan county may, in that
case, be said to have a sad heart."

"Right as my glove, Mr. Pattieson," added Mr. Hardie; "and a close heart,
and a hard heart--Keep it up, Jack."

"And a wicked heart, and a poor heart," answered Halkit, doing his best.

"And yet it may be called in some sort a strong heart, and a high heart,"
rejoined the advocate. "You see I can put you both out of heart."

"I have played all my hearts," said the younger gentleman.

"Then we'll have another lead," answered his companion.--"And as to the
old and condemned Tolbooth, what pity the same honour cannot be done to
it as has been done to many of its inmates. Why should not the Tolbooth
have its 'Last Speech, Confession, and Dying Words?' The old stones would
be just as conscious of the honour as many a poor devil who has dangled
like a tassel at the west end of it, while the hawkers were shouting a
confession the culprit had never heard of."

"I am afraid," said I, "if I might presume to give my opinion, it would
be a tale of unvaried sorrow and guilt."

"Not entirely, my friend," said Hardie; "a prison is a world within
itself, and has its own business, griefs, and joys, peculiar to its
circle. Its inmates are sometimes short-lived, but so are soldiers on
service; they are poor relatively to the world without, but there are
degrees of wealth and poverty among them, and so some are relatively rich
also. They cannot stir abroad, but neither can the garrison of a besieged
fort, or the crew of a ship at sea; and they are not under a dispensation
quite so desperate as either, for they may have as much food as they have
money to buy, and are not obliged to work, whether they have food or
not."

"But what variety of incident," said I (not without a secret view to my
present task), "could possibly be derived from such a work as you are
pleased to talk of?"

"Infinite," replied the young advocate. "Whatever of guilt, crime,
imposture, folly, unheard-of misfortunes, and unlooked-for change of
fortune, can be found to chequer life, my Last Speech of the Tolbooth
should illustrate with examples sufficient to gorge even the public's
all-devouring appetite for the wonderful and horrible. The inventor of
fictitious narratives has to rack his brains for means to diversify his
tale, and after all can hardly hit upon characters or incidents which
have not been used again and again, until they are familiar to the eye of
the reader, so that the development, _enle'vement,_ the desperate wound
of which the hero never dies, the burning fever from which the heroine is
sure to recover, become a mere matter of course. I join with my honest
friend Crabbe, and have an unlucky propensity to hope, when hope is lost,
and to rely upon the cork-jacket, which carries the heroes of romance
safe through all the billows of affliction." He then declaimed the
following passage, rather with too much than too little emphasis:--


               Much have I feared, but am no more afraid,
               When some chaste beauty by some wretch betrayed,
               Is drawn away with such distracted speed,
               That she anticipates a dreadful deed.
               Not so do I--Let solid walls impound
               The captive fair, and dig a moat around;
               Let there be brazen locks and bars of steel,
               And keepers cruel, such as never feel;
               With not a single note the purse supply,
               And when she begs, let men and maids deny;
               Be windows there from which she dare not fall,
               And help so distant, 'tis in vain to call;
               Still means of freedom will some Power devise,
               And from the baffled ruffian snatch his prize.

"The end of uncertainty," he concluded, "is the death of interest; and
hence it happens that no one now reads novels."

"Hear him, ye gods!" returned his companion. "I assure you, Mr.
Pattieson, you will hardly visit this learned gentleman, but you are
likely to find the new novel most in repute lying on his table,--snugly
intrenched, however, beneath Stair's Institutes, or an open volume of
Morrison's Decisions."

"Do I deny it?" said the hopeful jurisconsult, "or wherefore should I,
since it is well known these Delilahs seduce my wisers and my betters?
May they not be found lurking amidst the multiplied memorials of our most
distinguished counsel, and even peeping from under the cushion of a
judge's arm-chair? Our seniors at the bar, within the bar, and even on
the bench, read novels; and, if not belied, some of them have written
novels into the bargain. I only say, that I read from habit and from
indolence, not from real interest; that, like ancient Pistol devouring
his leek, I read and swear till I get to the end of the narrative. But
not so in the real records of human vagaries--not so in the State Trials,
or in the Books of Adjournal, where every now and then you read new pages
of the human heart, and turns of fortune far beyond what the boldest
novelist ever attempted to produce from the coinage of his brain."

"And for such narratives," I asked, "you suppose the History of the
Prison of Edinburgh might afford appropriate materials?"

"In a degree unusually ample, my dear sir," said Hardie--"Fill your
glass, however, in the meanwhile. Was it not for many years the place in
which the Scottish parliament met? Was it not James's place of refuge,
when the mob, inflamed by a seditious preacher, broke, forth, on him with
the cries of 'The sword of the Lord and of Gideon--bring forth the wicked
Haman?' Since that time how many hearts have throbbed within these walls,
as the tolling of the neighbouring bell announced to them how fast the
sands of their life were ebbing; how many must have sunk at the
sound--how many were supported by stubborn pride and dogged
resolution--how many by the consolations of religion? Have there not
been some, who, looking back on the motives of their crimes, were scarce
able to understand how they should have had such temptation as to seduce
them from virtue; and have there not, perhaps, been others, who,
sensible of their innocence, were divided between indignation at the
undeserved doom which they were to undergo, consciousness that they had
not deserved it, and racking anxiety to discover some way in which they
might yet vindicate themselves? Do you suppose any of these deep,
powerful, and agitating feelings, can be recorded and perused without
exciting a corresponding depth of deep, powerful, and agitating
interest?--Oh! do but wait till I publish the _Causes Ce'le'bres_ of
Caledonia, and you will find no want of a novel or a tragedy for some
time to come. The true thing will triumph over the brightest inventions
of the most ardent imagination. _Magna est veritas, et praevalebit._"

"I have understood," said I, encouraged by the affability of my rattling
entertainer, "that less of this interest must attach to Scottish
jurisprudence than to that of any other country. The general morality of
our people, their sober and prudent habits"--

"Secure them," said the barrister, "against any great increase of
professional thieves and depredators, but not against wild and wayward
starts of fancy and passion, producing crimes of an extraordinary
description, which are precisely those to the detail of which we listen
with thrilling interest. England has been much longer a highly civilised
country; her subjects have been very strictly amenable to laws
administered without fear or favour, a complete division of labour has
taken place among her subjects, and the very thieves and robbers form a
distinct class in society, subdivided among themselves according to the
subject of the depredations, and the mode in which they carry them on,
acting upon regular habits and principles, which can be calculated and
anticipated at Bow Street, Hatton Garden, or the Old Bailey. Our sister
kingdom is like a cultivated field,--the farmer expects that, in spite of
all his care, a certain number of weeds will rise with the corn, and can
tell you beforehand their names and appearance. But Scotland is like one
of her own Highland glens, and the moralist who reads the records of her
criminal jurisprudence, will find as many curious anomalous facts in the
history of mind, as the botanist will detect rare specimens among her
dingles and cliffs."

"And that's all the good you have obtained from three perusals of the
Commentaries on Scottish Criminal Jurisprudence?" said his companion. "I
suppose the learned author very little thinks that the facts which his
erudition and acuteness have accumulated for the illustration of legal
doctrines, might be so arranged as to form a sort of appendix to the
half-bound and slip-shod volumes of the circulating library."

"I'll bet you a pint of claret," said the elder lawyer, "that he will not
feel sore at the comparison. But as we say at the bar, 'I beg I may not
be interrupted;' I have much more to say, upon my Scottish collection of
_Causes Ce'le'bres._ You will please recollect the scope and motive given
for the contrivance and execution of many extraordinary and daring
crimes, by the long civil dissensions of Scotland--by the hereditary
jurisdictions, which, until 1748, rested the investigation of crises in
judges, ignorant, partial, or interested--by the habits of the gentry,
shut up in their distant and solitary mansion-houses, nursing their
revengeful Passions just to keep their blood from stagnating--not to
mention that amiable national qualification, called the _perfervidum
ingenium Scotorum,_ which our lawyers join in alleging as a reason for
the severity of some of our enactments. When I come to treat of matters
so mysterious, deep, and dangerous, as these circumstances have given
rise to, the blood of each reader shall be curdled, and his epidermis
crisped into goose skin.--But, hist!--here comes the landlord, with
tidings, I suppose, that the chaise is ready."

It was no such thing--the tidings bore, that no chaise could be had that
evening, for Sir Peter Plyem had carried forward my landlord's two pairs
of horses that morning to the ancient royal borough of Bubbleburgh, to
look after his interest there. But as Bubbleburgh is only one of a set of
five boroughs which club their shares for a member of parliament, Sir
Peter's adversary had judiciously watched his departure, in order to
commence a canvass in the no less royal borough of Bitem, which, as all
the world knows, lies at the very termination of Sir Peter's avenue, and
has been held in leading-strings by him and his ancestors for time
immemorial. Now Sir Peter was thus placed in the situation of an
ambitious monarch, who, after having commenced a daring inroad into his
enemy's territories, is suddenly recalled by an invasion of his own
hereditary dominions. He was obliged in consequence to return from the
half-won borough of Bubbleburgh, to look after the half-lost borough of
Bitem, and the two pairs of horses which had carried him that morning to
Bubbleburgh were now forcibly detained to transport him, his agent, his
valet, his jester, and his hard-drinker, across the country to Bitem. The
cause of this detention, which to me was of as little consequence as it
may be to the reader, was important enough to my companions to reconcile
them to the delay. Like eagles, they smelled the battle afar off, ordered
a magnum of claret and beds at the Wallace, and entered at full career
into the Bubbleburgh and Bitem politics, with all the probable "Petitions
and complaints" to which they were likely to give rise.

In the midst of an anxious, animated, and, to me, most unintelligible
discussion, concerning provosts, bailies, deacons, sets of boroughs,
leets, town-clerks, burgesses resident and non-resident, all of a sudden
the lawyer recollected himself. "Poor Dunover, we must not forget him;"
and the landlord was despatched in quest of the _pauvre honteux,_ with an
earnestly civil invitation to him for the rest of the evening. I could
not help asking the young gentlemen if they knew the history of this poor
man; and the counsellor applied himself to his pocket to recover the
memorial or brief from which he had stated his cause.

"He has been a candidate for our _remedium miserabile,_" said Mr. Hardie,
"commonly called a _cessio bonorum._ As there are divines who have
doubted the eternity of future punishments, so the Scotch lawyers seem to
have thought that the crime of poverty might be atoned for by something
short of perpetual imprisonment. After a month's confinement, you must
know, a prisoner for debt is entitled, on a sufficient statement to our
Supreme Court, setting forth the amount of his funds, and the nature of
his misfortunes, and surrendering all his effects to his creditors, to
claim to be discharged from prison."

"I had heard," I replied, "of such a humane regulation."

"Yes," said Halkit, "and the beauty of it is, as the foreign fellow said,
you may get the _cessio,_ when the _bonorums_ are all spent--But what,
are you puzzling in your pockets to seek your only memorial among old
play-bills, letters requesting a meeting of the Faculty, rules of the
Speculative Society,* syllabus' of lectures--all the miscellaneous
contents of a young advocate's pocket, which contains everything but
briefs and bank-notes?

* [A well-known debating club in Edinburgh.]

Can you not state a case of _cessio_ without your memorial? Why, it is
done every Saturday. The events follow each other as regularly as
clock-work, and one form of condescendence might suit every one of them."

"This is very unlike the variety of distress which this gentleman stated
to fall under the consideration of your judges," said I.

"True," replied Halkit; "but Hardie spoke of criminal jurisprudence, and
this business is purely civil. I could plead a _cessio_ myself without
the inspiring honours of a gown and three-tailed periwig--Listen.--My
client was bred a journeyman weaver--made some little money--took a
farm--(for conducting a farm, like driving a gig, comes by nature)--late
severe times--induced to sign bills with a friend, for which he received
no value--landlord sequestrates--creditors accept a composition--pursuer
sets up a public-house--fails a second time--is incarcerated for a debt
of ten pounds seven shillings and sixpence--his debts amount to
blank--his losses to blank--his funds to blank--leaving a balance of blank
in his favour. There is no opposition; your lordships will please grant
commission to take his oath."

Hardie now renounced this ineffectual search, in which there was perhaps
a little affectation, and told us the tale of poor Dunover's distresses,
with a tone in which a degree of feeling, which he seemed ashamed of as
unprofessional, mingled with his attempts at wit, and did him more
honour. It was one of those tales which seem to argue a sort of ill-luck
or fatality attached to the hero. A well-informed, industrious, and
blameless, but poor and bashful man, had in vain essayed all the usual
means by which others acquire independence, yet had never succeeded
beyond the attainment of bare subsistence. During a brief gleam of hope,
rather than of actual prosperity, he had added a wife and family to his
cares, but the dawn was speedily overcast. Everything retrograded with
him towards the verge of the miry Slough of Despond, which yawns for
insolvent debtors; and after catching at each twig, and experiencing the
protracted agony of feeling them one by one elude his grasp, he actually
sunk into the miry pit whence he had been extricated by the professional
exertions of Hardie.

"And, I suppose, now you have dragged this poor devil ashore, you will
leave him half naked on the beach to provide for himself?" said Halkit.
"Hark ye,"--and he whispered something in his ear, of which the
penetrating and insinuating words, "Interest with my Lord," alone reached
mine.

"It is _pessimi exempli,_" said Hardie, laughing, "to provide for a
ruined client; but I was thinking of what you mention, provided it can be
managed--But hush! here he comes."

The recent relation of the poor man's misfortunes had given him, I was
pleased to observe, a claim to the attention and respect of the young
men, who treated him with great civility, and gradually engaged him in a
conversation, which, much to my satisfaction, again turned upon the
_Causes Ce'le'bres_ of Scotland. Imboldened by the kindness with which he
was treated, Mr. Dunover began to contribute his share to the amusement
of the evening. Jails, like other places, have their ancient traditions,
known only to the inhabitants, and handed down from one set of the
melancholy lodgers to the next who occupy their cells. Some of these,
which Dunover mentioned, were interesting, and served to illustrate the
narratives of remarkable trials, which Hardie had at his finger-ends, and
which his companion was also well skilled in. This sort of conversation
passed away the evening till the early hour when Mr. Dunover chose to
retire to rest, and I also retreated to take down memorandums of what I
had learned, in order to add another narrative to those which it had been
my chief amusement to collect, and to write out in detail. The two young
men ordered a broiled bone, Madeira negus, and a pack of cards, and
commenced a game at picquet.

Next morning the travellers left Gandercleugh. I afterwards learned from
the papers that both have been since engaged in the great political cause
of Bubbleburgh and Bitem, a summary case, and entitled to particular
despatch; but which, it is thought, nevertheless, may outlast the
duration of the parliament to which the contest refers. Mr. Halkit, as
the newspapers informed me, acts as agent or solicitor; and Mr. Hardie
opened for Sir Peter Plyem with singular ability, and to such good
purpose, that I understand he has since had fewer play-bills and more
briefs in his pocket. And both the young gentlemen deserve their good
fortune; for I learned from Dunover, who called on me some weeks
afterwards, and communicated the intelligence with tears in his eyes,
that their interest had availed to obtain him a small office for the
decent maintenance of his family; and that, after a train of constant and
uninterrupted misfortune, he could trace a dawn of prosperity to his
having the good fortune to be flung from the top of a mail-coach into the
river Gander, in company with an advocate and a writer to the Signet. The
reader will not perhaps deem himself equally obliged to the accident,
since it brings upon him the following narrative, founded upon the
conversation of the evening.



THE HEART OF MIDLOTHIAN



CHAPTER FIRST.


               Whoe'er's been at Paris must needs know the Gre've,
               The fatal retreat of the unfortunate brave,
               Where honour and justice most oddly contribute,
               To ease heroes' pains by an halter and gibbet.

               There death breaks the shackles which force had put on,
               And the hangman completes what the judge but began;
               There the squire of the poet, and knight of the post,
               Find their pains no more baulked, and their hopes no more
               crossed.
                                                Prior.

In former times, England had her Tyburn, to which the devoted victims of
justice were conducted in solemn procession up what is now called Oxford
Street. In Edinburgh, a large open street, or rather oblong square,
surrounded by high houses, called the Grassmarket, was used for the same
melancholy purpose. It was not ill chosen for such a scene, being of
considerable extent, and therefore fit to accommodate a great number of
spectators, such as are usually assembled by this melancholy spectacle.
On the other hand, few of the houses which surround it were, even in
early times, inhabited by persons of fashion; so that those likely to be
offended or over deeply affected by such unpleasant exhibitions were not
in the way of having their quiet disturbed by them. The houses in the
Grassmarket are, generally speaking, of a mean description; yet the place
is not without some features of grandeur, being overhung by the southern
side of the huge rock on which the Castle stands, and by the moss-grown
battlements and turreted walls of that ancient fortress.

It was the custom, until within these thirty years or thereabouts, to use
this esplanade for the scene of public executions. The fatal day was
announced to the public by the appearance of a huge black gallows-tree
towards the eastern end of the Grassmarket. This ill-omened apparition
was of great height, with a scaffold surrounding it, and a double ladder
placed against it, for the ascent of the unhappy criminal and
executioner. As this apparatus was always arranged before dawn, it seemed
as if the gallows had grown out of the earth in the course of one night,
like the production of some foul demon; and I well remember the fright
with which the schoolboys, when I was one of their number, used to regard
these ominous signs of deadly preparation. On the night after the
execution the gallows again disappeared, and was conveyed in silence and
darkness to the place where it was usually deposited, which was one of
the vaults under the Parliament House, or courts of justice. This mode of
execution is now exchanged for one similar to that in front of
Newgate,--with what beneficial effect is uncertain. The mental
sufferings of the convict are indeed shortened. He no longer stalks
between the attendant clergymen, dressed in his grave-clothes, through a
considerable part of the city, looking like a moving and walking corpse,
while yet an inhabitant of this world; but, as the ultimate purpose of
punishment has in view the prevention of crimes, it may at least be
doubted, whether, in abridging the melancholy ceremony, we have not in
part diminished that appalling effect upon the spectators which is the
useful end of all such inflictions, and in consideration of which alone,
unless in very particular cases, capital sentences can be altogether
justified.

On the 7th day of September 1736, these ominous preparations for
execution were descried in the place we have described, and at an early
hour the space around began to be occupied by several groups, who gazed
on the scaffold and gibbet with a stern and vindictive show of
satisfaction very seldom testified by the populace, whose good nature, in
most cases, forgets the crime of the condemned person, and dwells only on
his misery. But the act of which the expected culprit had been convicted
was of a description calculated nearly and closely to awaken and irritate
the resentful feelings of the multitude. The tale is well known; yet it
is necessary to recapitulate its leading circumstances, for the better
understanding what is to follow; and the narrative may prove long, but I
trust not uninteresting even to those who have heard its general issue.
At any rate, some detail is necessary, in order to render intelligible
the subsequent events of our narrative.

Contraband trade, though it strikes at the root of legitimate government,
by encroaching on its revenues,--though it injures the fair trader, and
debauches the mind of those engaged in it,--is not usually looked upon,
either by the vulgar or by their betters, in a very heinous point of
view. On the contrary, in those countries where it prevails, the
cleverest, boldest, and most intelligent of the peasantry, are uniformly
engaged in illicit transactions, and very often with the sanction of the
farmers and inferior gentry. Smuggling was almost universal in Scotland
in the reigns of George I. and II.; for the people, unaccustomed to
imposts, and regarding them as an unjust aggression upon their ancient
liberties, made no scruple to elude them whenever it was possible to do
so.

The county of Fife, bounded by two firths on the south and north, and by
the sea on the east, and having a number of small seaports, was long
famed for maintaining successfully a contraband trade; and, as there were
many seafaring men residing there, who had been pirates and buccaneers in
their youth, there were not wanting a sufficient number of daring men to
carry it on. Among these, a fellow called Andrew Wilson, originally a
baker in the village of Pathhead, was particularly obnoxious to the
revenue officers. He was possessed of great personal strength, courage,
and cunning,--was perfectly acquainted with the coast, and capable of
conducting the most desperate enterprises. On several occasions he
succeeded in baffling the pursuit and researches of the king's officers;
but he became so much the object of their suspicions and watchful
attention, that at length he was totally ruined by repeated seizures. The
man became desperate. He considered himself as robbed and plundered; and
took it into his head that he had a right to make reprisals, as he could
find opportunity. Where the heart is prepared for evil, opportunity is
seldom long wanting. This Wilson learned that the Collector of the
Customs at Kirkcaldy had come to Pittenweem, in the course of his
official round of duty, with a considerable sum of public money in his
custody. As the amount was greatly within the value of the goods which
had been seized from him, Wilson felt no scruple of conscience in
resolving to reimburse himself for his losses, at the expense of the
Collector and the revenue. He associated with himself one Robertson, and
two other idle young men, whom, having been concerned in the same illicit
trade, he persuaded to view the transaction in the same justifiable light
in which he himself considered it. They watched the motions of the
Collector; they broke forcibly into the house where he lodged,--Wilson,
with two of his associates, entering the Collector's apartment, while
Robertson, the fourth, kept watch at the door with a drawn cutlass in his
hand. The officer of the customs, conceiving his life in danger, escaped
out of his bedroom window, and fled in his shirt, so that the plunderers,
with much ease, possessed themselves of about two hundred pounds of
public money. The robbery was committed in a very audacious manner, for
several persons were passing in the street at the time. But Robertson,
representing the noise they heard as a dispute or fray betwixt the
Collector and the people of the house, the worthy citizens of Pittenweem
felt themselves no way called on to interfere in behalf of the obnoxious
revenue officer; so, satisfying themselves with this very superficial
account of the matter, like the Levite in the parable, they passed on the
opposite side of the way. An alarm was at length given, military were
called in, the depredators were pursued, the booty recovered, and Wilson
and Robertson tried and condemned to death, chiefly on the evidence of an
accomplice.

Many thought that, in consideration of the men's erroneous opinion of the
nature of the action they had committed, justice might have been
satisfied with a less forfeiture than that of two lives. On the other
hand, from the audacity of the fact, a severe example was judged
necessary; and such was the opinion of the Government. When it became
apparent that the sentence of death was to be executed, files, and other
implements necessary for their escape, were transmitted secretly to the
culprits by a friend from without. By these means they sawed a bar out of
one of the prison-windows, and might have made their escape, but for the
obstinacy of Wilson, who, as he was daringly resolute, was doggedly
pertinacious of his opinion. His comrade, Robertson, a young and slender
man, proposed to make the experiment of passing the foremost through the
gap they had made, and enlarging it from the outside, if necessary, to
allow Wilson free passage. Wilson, however, insisted on making the first
experiment, and being a robust and lusty man, he not only found it
impossible to get through betwixt the bars, but, by his struggles, he
jammed himself so fast, that he was unable to draw his body back again.
In these circumstances discovery became unavoidable, and sufficient
precautions were taken by the jailor to prevent any repetition of the
same attempt. Robertson uttered not a word of reflection on his companion
for the consequences of his obstinacy; but it appeared from the sequel,
that Wilson's mind was deeply impressed with the recollection that, but
for him, his comrade, over whose mind he exercised considerable
influence, would not have engaged in the criminal enterprise which had
terminated thus fatally; and that now he had become his destroyer a
second time, since, but for his obstinacy, Robertson might have effected
his escape. Minds like Wilson's, even when exercised in evil practices,
sometimes retain the power of thinking and resolving with enthusiastic
generosity. His whole thoughts were now bent on the possibility of saving
Robertson's life, without the least respect to his own. The resolution
which he adopted, and the manner in which he carried it into effect, were
striking and unusual.

Adjacent to the tolbooth or city jail of Edinburgh, is one of three
churches into which the cathedral of St. Giles is now divided, called,
from its vicinity, the Tolbooth Church. It was the custom that criminals
under sentence of death were brought to this church, with a sufficient
guard, to hear and join in public worship on the Sabbath before
execution. It was supposed that the hearts of these unfortunate persons,
however hardened before against feelings of devotion, could not but be
accessible to them upon uniting their thoughts and voices, for the last
time, along with their fellow-mortals, in addressing their Creator. And
to the rest of the congregation, it was thought it could not but be
impressive and affecting, to find their devotions mingling with those,
who, sent by the doom of an earthly tribunal to appear where the whole
earth is judged, might be considered as beings trembling on the verge of
eternity. The practice, however edifying, has been discontinued, in
consequence of the incident we are about to detail.

The clergyman, whose duty it was to officiate in the Tolbooth Church, had
concluded an affecting discourse, part of which was particularly directed
to the unfortunate men, Wilson and Robertson, who were in the pew set
apart for the persons in their unhappy situation, each secured betwixt
two soldiers of the city guard. The clergyman had reminded them, that the
next congregation they must join would be that of the just, or of the
unjust; that the psalms they now heard must be exchanged, in the space of
two brief days, for eternal hallelujahs, or eternal lamentations; and
that this fearful alternative must depend upon the state to which they
might be able to bring their minds before the moment of awful
preparation: that they should not despair on account of the suddenness of
the summons, but rather to feel this comfort in their misery, that,
though all who now lifted the voice, or bent the knee in conjunction with
them, lay under the same sentence of certain death, _they_ only had the
advantage of knowing the precise moment at which it should be executed
upon them. "Therefore," urged the good man, his voice trembling with
emotion, "redeem the time, my unhappy brethren, which is yet left; and
remember, that, with the grace of Him to whom space and time are but as
nothing, salvation may yet be assured, even in the pittance of delay
which the laws of your country afford you."

Robertson was observed to weep at these words; but Wilson seemed as one
whose brain had not entirely received their meaning, or whose thoughts
were deeply impressed with some different subject;--an expression so
natural to a person in his situation, that it excited neither suspicion
nor surprise.

The benediction was pronounced as usual, and the congregation was
dismissed, many lingering to indulge their curiosity with a more fixed
look at the two criminals, who now, as well as their guards, rose up, as
if to depart when the crowd should permit them. A murmur of compassion
was heard to pervade the spectators, the more general, perhaps, on
account of the alleviating circumstances of the case; when all at once,
Wilson, who, as we have already noticed, was a very strong man, seized
two of the soldiers, one with each hand, and calling at the same time to
his companion, "Run, Geordie, run!" threw himself on a third, and
fastened his teeth on the collar of his coat. Robertson stood for a
second as if thunderstruck, and unable to avail himself of the
opportunity of escape; but the cry of "Run, run!" being echoed from many
around, whose feelings surprised them into a very natural interest in his
behalf, he shook off the grasp of the remaining soldier, threw himself
over the pew, mixed with the dispersing congregation, none of whom felt
inclined to stop a poor wretch taking his last chance for his life,
gained the door of the church, and was lost to all pursuit.

The generous intrepidity which Wilson had displayed on this occasion
augmented the feeling of compassion which attended his fate. The public,
where their own prejudices are not concerned, are easily engaged on the
side of disinterestedness and humanity, admired Wilson's behaviour, and
rejoiced in Robertson's escape. This general feeling was so great, that
it excited a vague report that Wilson would be rescued at the place of
execution, either by the mob or by some of his old associates, or by some
second extraordinary and unexpected exertion of strength and courage on
his own part. The magistrates thought it their duty to provide against
the possibility of disturbance. They ordered out, for protection of the
execution of the sentence, the greater part of their own City Guard,
under the command of Captain Porteous, a man whose name became too
memorable from the melancholy circumstances of the day, and subsequent
events. It may be necessary to say a word about this person, and the
corps which he commanded. But the subject is of importance sufficient to
deserve another chapter.



CHAPTER SECOND.


                         And thou, great god of aquavitae!
                         Wha sways the empire of this city
                         (When fou we're sometimes capernoity),

                         Be thou prepared,
                         To save us frae that black banditti,

                         The City Guard!
                                        Fergusson's _Daft Days._

Captain John Porteous, a name memorable in the traditions of Edinburgh,
as well as in the records of criminal jurisprudence, was the son of a
citizen of Edinburgh, who endeavoured to breed him up to his own
mechanical trade of a tailor. The youth, however, had a wild and
irreclaimable propensity to dissipation, which finally sent him to serve
in the corps long maintained in the service of the States of Holland, and
called the Scotch Dutch. Here he learned military discipline; and,
returning afterwards, in the course of an idle and wandering life, to his
native city, his services were required by the magistrates of Edinburgh
in the disturbed year 1715, for disciplining their City Guard, in which
he shortly afterwards received a captain's commission. It was only by his
military skill and an alert and resolute character as an officer of
police, that he merited this promotion, for he is said to have been a man
of profligate habits, an unnatural son, and a brutal husband. He was,
however, useful in his station, and his harsh and fierce habits rendered
him formidable to rioters or disturbers of the public peace.

The corps in which he held his command is, or perhaps we should rather
say _was,_ a body of about one hundred and twenty soldiers divided into
three companies, and regularly armed, clothed, and embodied. They were
chiefly veterans who enlisted in this cogs, having the benefit of working
at their trades when they were off duty. These men had the charge of
preserving public order, repressing riots and street robberies, acting,
in short, as an armed police, and attending on all public occasions where
confusion or popular disturbance might be expected.*

* The Lord Provost was ex-officio commander and colonel of the corps,
which might be increased to three hundred men when the times required it.
No other drum but theirs was allowed to sound on the High Street  between
the Luckenbooths and the Netherbow.

Poor Fergusson, whose irregularities sometimes led him into unpleasant
rencontres with these military conservators of public order, and who
mentions them so often that he may be termed their poet laureate,* thus
admonishes his readers, warned doubtless by his own experience:--

* [Robert Fergusson, the Scottish Poet, born 1750, died 1774.]

                    "Gude folk, as ye come frae the fair,
                    Bide yont frae this black squad:
                    There's nae sic savages elsewhere
                    Allowed to wear cockad."

In fact, the soldiers of the City Guard, being, as we have said, in
general discharged veterans, who had strength enough remaining for this
municipal duty, and being, moreover, for the greater part, Highlanders,
were neither by birth, education, nor former habits, trained to endure
with much patience the insults of the rabble, or the provoking petulance
of truant schoolboys, and idle debauchees of all descriptions, with whom
their occupation brought them into contact. On the contrary, the tempers
of the poor old fellows were soured by the indignities with which the mob
distinguished them on many occasions, and frequently might have required
the soothing strains of the poet we have just quoted--

                    "O soldiers! for your ain dear sakes,
                    For Scotland's love, the Land o' Cakes,
                    Gie not her bairns sic deadly paiks,
                    Nor be sae rude,
                    Wi' firelock or Lochaber-axe,
                    As spill their bluid!"

On all occasions when a holiday licensed some riot and irregularity, a
skirmish with these veterans was a favourite recreation with the rabble
of Edinburgh. These pages may perhaps see the light when many have in
fresh recollection such onsets as we allude to. But the venerable corps,
with whom the contention was held, may now be considered as totally
extinct. Of late the gradual diminution of these civic soldiers reminds
one of the abatement of King Lear's hundred knights. The edicts of each
succeeding set of magistrates have, like those of Goneril and Regan,
diminished this venerable band with the similar question, "What need we
five-and-twenty?--ten?--or five?" And it is now nearly come to, "What
need one?" A spectre may indeed here and there still be seen, of an old
grey-headed and grey-bearded Highlander, with war-worn features, but bent
double by age; dressed in an old fashioned cocked-hat, bound with white
tape instead of silver lace; and in coat, waistcoat, and breeches, of a
muddy-coloured red, bearing in his withered hand an ancient weapon,
called a Lochaber-axe; a long pole, namely, with an axe at the extremity,
and a hook at the back of the hatchet.*

* This hook was to enable the bearer of the Lochaber-axe to scale a
gateway, by grappling the top of the door, and swinging himself up by the
staff of his weapon.

Such a phantom of former days still creeps, I have been informed, round
the statue of Charles the Second, in the Parliament Square, as if the
image of a Stuart were the last refuge for any memorial of our ancient
manners; and one or two others are supposed to glide around the door of
the guardhouse assigned to them in the Luckenbooths, when their ancient
refuge in the High Street was laid low.*

* This ancient corps is now entirely disbanded. Their last march to do
duty at Hallowfair had something in it affecting. Their drums and fifes
had been wont on better days to play, on this joyous occasion, the lively
tune of "Jockey to the fair;" but on his final occasion the afflicted
veterans moved slowly to the dirge of

"The last time I came ower the muir."

But the fate of manuscripts bequeathed to friends and executors is so
uncertain, that the narrative containing these frail memorials of the old
Town Guard of Edinburgh, who, with their grim and valiant corporal, John
Dhu (the fiercest-looking fellow I ever saw), were, in my boyhood, the
alternate terror and derision of the petulant brood of the High School,
may, perhaps, only come to light when all memory of the institution has
faded away, and then serve as an illustration of Kay's caricatures, who
has preserved the features of some of their heroes. In the preceding
generation, when there was a perpetual alarm for the plots and activity
of the Jacobites, some pains were taken by the magistrates of Edinburgh
to keep this corps, though composed always of such materials as we have
noticed, in a more effective state than was afterwards judged necessary,
when their most dangerous service was to skirmish with the rabble on the
king's birthday. They were, therefore, more the objects of hatred, and
less that of scorn, than they were afterwards accounted.

To Captain John Porteous, the honour of his command and of his corps
seems to have been a matter of high interest and importance. He was
exceedingly incensed against Wilson for the affront which he construed
him to have put upon his soldiers, in the effort he made for the
liberation of his companion, and expressed himself most ardently on the
subject. He was no less indignant at the report, that there was an
intention to rescue Wilson himself from the gallows, and uttered many
threats and imprecations upon that subject, which were afterwards
remembered to his disadvantage. In fact, if a good deal of determination
and promptitude rendered Porteous, in one respect, fit to command guards
designed to suppress popular commotion, he seems, on the other, to have
been disqualified for a charge so delicate, by a hot and surly temper,
always too ready to come to blows and violence; a character void of
principle; and a disposition to regard the rabble, who seldom failed to
regale him and his soldiers with some marks of their displeasure, as
declared enemies, upon whom it was natural and justifiable that he should
seek opportunities of vengeance. Being, however, the most active and
trustworthy among the captains of the City Guard, he was the person to
whom the magistrates confided the command of the soldiers appointed to
keep the peace at the time of Wilson's execution. He was ordered to guard
the gallows and scaffold, with about eighty men, all the disposable force
that could be spared for that duty.

But the magistrates took farther precautions, which affected Porteous's
pride very deeply. They requested the assistance of part of a regular
infantry regiment, not to attend upon the execution, but to remain drawn
up on the principal street of the city, during the time that it went
forward, in order to intimidate the multitude, in case they should be
disposed to be unruly, with a display of force which could not be
resisted without desperation. It may sound ridiculous in our ears,
considering the fallen state of this ancient civic corps, that its
officer should have felt punctiliously jealous of its honour. Yet so it
was. Captain Porteous resented, as an indignity, the introducing the
Welsh Fusileers within the city, and drawing them up in the street where
no drums but his own were allowed to be sounded without the special
command or permission of the magistrates. As he could not show his
ill-humour to his patrons the magistrates, it increased his indignation
and his desire to be revenged on the unfortunate criminal Wilson, and all
who favoured him. These internal emotions of jealousy and rage wrought a
change on the man's mien and bearing, visible to all who saw him on the
fatal morning when Wilson was appointed to suffer. Porteous's ordinary
appearance was rather favourable. He was about the middle size, stout,
and well made, having a military air, and yet rather a gentle and mild
countenance. His complexion was brown, his face somewhat fretted with the
sears of the smallpox, his eyes rather languid than keen or fierce. On
the present occasion, however, it seemed to those who saw him as if he
were agitated by some evil demon. His step was irregular, his voice
hollow and broken, his countenance pale, his eyes staring and wild, his
speech imperfect and confused, and his whole appearance so disordered,
that many remarked he seemed to be _fey,_ a Scottish expression, meaning
the state of those who are driven on to their impending fate by the
strong impulse of some irresistible necessity.

One part of his conduct was truly diabolical, if indeed it has not been
exaggerated by the general prejudice entertained against his memory. When
Wilson, the unhappy criminal, was delivered to him by the keeper of the
prison, in order that he might be conducted to the place of execution,
Porteous, not satisfied with the usual precautions to prevent escape,
ordered him to be manacled. This might be justifiable from the character
and bodily strength of the malefactor, as well as from the apprehensions
so generally entertained of an expected rescue. But the handcuffs which
were produced being found too small for the wrists of a man so big-boned
as Wilson, Porteous proceeded with his own hands, and by great exertion
of strength, to force them till they clasped together, to the exquisite
torture of the unhappy criminal. Wilson remonstrated against such
barbarous usage, declaring that the pain distracted his thoughts from the
subjects of meditation proper to his unhappy condition.

"It signifies little," replied Captain Porteous; "your pain will soon be
at an end."

"Your cruelty is great," answered the sufferer. "You know not how soon
you yourself may have occasion to ask the mercy which you are now
refusing to a fellow-creature. May God forgive you!"

These words, long afterwards quoted and remembered, were all that passed
between Porteous and his prisoner; but as they took air, and became known
to the people, they greatly increased the popular compassion for Wilson,
and excited a proportionate degree of indignation against Porteous;
against whom, as strict, and even violent in the discharge of his
unpopular office, the common people had some real, and many imaginary
causes of complaint.

When the painful procession was completed, and Wilson, with the escort,
had arrived at the scaffold in the Grassmarket, there appeared no signs
of that attempt to rescue him which had occasioned such precautions. The
multitude, in general, looked on with deeper interest than at ordinary
executions; and there might be seen, on the countenances of many, a stern
and indignant expression, like that with which the ancient Cameronians
might be supposed to witness the execution of their brethren, who
glorified the Covenant on the same occasion, and at the same spot. But
there was no attempt at violence. Wilson himself seemed disposed to
hasten over the space that divided time from eternity. The devotions
proper and usual on such occasions were no sooner finished than he
submitted to his fate, and the sentence of the law was fulfilled.

He had been suspended on the gibbet so long as to be totally deprived of
life, when at once, as if occasioned by some newly received impulse,
there arose a tumult among the multitude. Many stones were thrown at
Porteous and his guards; some mischief was done; and the mob continued to
press forward with whoops, shrieks, howls, and exclamations. A young
fellow, with a sailor's cap slouched over his face, sprung on the
scaffold, and cut the rope by which the criminal was suspended. Others
approached to carry off the body, either to secure for it a decent grave,
or to try, perhaps, some means of resuscitation. Captain Porteous was
wrought, by this appearance of insurrection against his authority, into a
rage so headlong as made him forget, that, the sentence having been fully
executed, it was his duty not to engage in hostilities with the misguided
multitude, but to draw off his men as fast as possible. He sprung from
the scaffold, snatched a musket from one of his soldiers, commanded the
party to give fire, and, as several eye-witnesses concurred in swearing,
set them the example, by discharging his piece, and shooting a man dead
on the spot. Several soldiers obeyed his command or followed his example;
six or seven persons were slain, and a great many were hurt and wounded.

After this act of violence, the Captain proceeded to withdraw his men
towards their guard-house in the High Street. The mob were not so much
intimidated as incensed by what had been done. They pursued the soldiers
with execrations, accompanied by volleys of stones. As they pressed on
them, the rearmost soldiers turned, and again fired with fatal aim and
execution. It is not accurately known whether Porteous commanded this
second act of violence; but of course the odium of the whole transactions
of the fatal day attached to him, and to him alone. He arrived at the
guard-house, dismissed his soldiers, and went to make his report to the
magistrates concerning the unfortunate events of the day.

Apparently by this time Captain Porteous had began to doubt the propriety
of his own conduct, and the reception he met with from the magistrates
was such as to make him still more anxious to gloss it over. He denied
that he had given orders to fire; he denied he had fired with his own
hand; he even produced the fusee which he carried as an officer for
examination; it was found still loaded. Of three cartridges which he was
seen to put in his pouch that morning, two were still there; a white
handkerchief was thrust into the muzzle of the piece, and re-turned
unsoiled or blackened. To the defence founded on these circumstances it
was answered, that Porteous had not used his own piece, but had been seen
to take one from a soldier. Among the many who had been killed and
wounded by the unhappy fire, there were several of better rank; for even
the humanity of such soldiers as fired over the heads of the mere rabble
around the scaffold, proved in some instances fatal to persons who were
stationed in windows, or observed the melancholy scene from a distance.
The voice of public indignation was loud and general; and, ere men's
tempers had time to cool, the trial of Captain Porteous took place before
the High Court of Justiciary. After a long and patient hearing, the jury
had the difficult duty of balancing the positive evidence of many
persons, and those of respectability, who deposed positively to the
prisoner's commanding his soldiers to fire, and himself firing his piece,
of which some swore that they saw the smoke and flash, and beheld a man
drop at whom it was pointed, with the negative testimony of others, who,
though well stationed for seeing what had passed, neither heard Porteous
give orders to fire, nor saw him fire himself; but, on the contrary,
averred that the first shot was fired by a soldier who stood close by
him. A great part of his defence was also founded on the turbulence of
the mob, which witnesses, according to their feelings, their
predilections, and their opportunities of observation, represented
differently; some describing as a formidable riot, what others
represented as a trifling disturbance such as always used to take place
on the like occasions, when the executioner of the law, and the men
commissioned to protect him in his task, were generally exposed to some
indignities. The verdict of the jury sufficiently shows how the evidence
preponderated in their minds. It declared that John Porteous fired a gun
among the people assembled at the execution; that he gave orders to his
soldiers to fire, by which many persons were killed and wounded; but, at
the same time, that the prisoner and his guard had been wounded and
beaten, by stones thrown at them by the multitude. Upon this verdict, the
Lords of Justiciary passed sentence of death against Captain John
Porteous, adjudging him, in the common form, to be hanged on a gibbet at
the common place of execution, on Wednesday, 8th September 1736, and all
his movable property to be forfeited to the king's use, according to the
Scottish law in cases of wilful murder.*

* The signatures affixed to the death-warrant of Captain Porteous were--
Andrew Fletcher of Milton, Lord Justice-Clerk.
Sir James Mackenzie, Lord Royston.
David Erskine, Lord Dun.
Sir Walter Pringle, Lord Newhall.
Sir Gilbert Elliot, Lord Minto.



CHAPTER THIRD.


                   "The hour's come, but not the man."*

* There is a tradition, that while a little stream was swollen into a
torrent by recent showers, the discontented voice of the Water Spirit was
heard to pronounce these words. At the some moment a man, urged on by his
fate, or, in Scottish language, _fey,_ arrived at a gallop, and prepared
to cross the water. No remonstrance from the bystanders was of power to
stop him--he plunged into the stream, and perished.


Kelpie.

On the day when the unhappy Porteous was expected to suffer the sentence
of the law, the place of execution, extensive as it is, was crowded
almost to suffocation. There was not a window in all the lofty tenements
around it, or in the steep and crooked street called the Bow, by which
the fatal procession was to descend from the High Street, that was not
absolutely filled with spectators. The uncommon height and antique
appearance of these houses, some of which were formerly the property of
the Knights Templars, and the Knights of St. John, and still exhibit on
their fronts and gables the iron cross of these orders, gave additional
effect to a scene in itself so striking. The area of the Grassmarket
resembled a huge dark lake or sea of human heads, in the centre of which
arose the fatal tree, tall, black, and ominous, from which dangled the
deadly halter. Every object takes interest from its uses and
associations, and the erect beam and empty noose, things so simple in
themselves, became, on such an occasion, objects of terror and of solemn
interest.

Amid so numerous an assembly there was scarcely a word spoken, save in
whispers. The thirst of vengeance was in some degree allayed by its
supposed certainty; and even the populace, with deeper feeling than they
are wont to entertain, suppressed all clamorous exultation, and prepared
to enjoy the scene of retaliation in triumph, silent and decent, though
stern and relentless. It seemed as if the depth of their hatred to the
unfortunate criminal scorned to display itself in anything resembling the
more noisy current of their ordinary feelings. Had a stranger consulted
only the evidence of his ears, he might have supposed that so vast a
multitude were assembled for some purpose which affected them with the
deepest sorrow, and stilled those noises which, on all ordinary
occasions, arise from such a concourse; but if he had gazed upon their
faces, he would have been instantly undeceived. The compressed lip, the
bent brow, the stern and flashing eye of almost everyone on whom he
looked, conveyed the expression of men come to glut their sight with
triumphant revenge. It is probable that the appearance of the criminal
might have somewhat changed the temper of the populace in his favour, and
that they might in the moment of death have forgiven the man against whom
their resentment had been so fiercely heated. It had, however, been
destined, that the mutability of their sentiments was not to be exposed
to this trial.

The usual hour for producing the criminal had been past for many minutes,
yet the spectators observed no symptom of his appearance. "Would they
venture to defraud public justice?" was the question which men began
anxiously to ask at each other. The first answer in every case was bold
and positive,--"They dare not." But when the point was further canvassed,
other opinions were entertained, and various causes of doubt were
suggested. Porteous had been a favourite officer of the magistracy of the
city, which, being a numerous and fluctuating body, requires for its
support a degree of energy in its functionaries, which the individuals
who compose it cannot at all times alike be supposed to possess in their
own persons. It was remembered, that in the Information for Porteous (the
paper, namely, in which his case was stated to the Judges of the criminal
court), he had been described by his counsel as the person on whom the
magistrates chiefly relied in all emergencies of uncommon difficulty. It
was argued, too, that his conduct, on the unhappy occasion of Wilson's
execution, was capable of being attributed to an imprudent excess of zeal
in the execution of his duty, a motive for which those under whose
authority he acted might be supposed to have great sympathy. And as these
considerations might move the magistrates to make a favourable
representation of Porteous's case, there were not wanting others in the
higher departments of Government, which would make such suggestions
favourably listened to.

The mob of Edinburgh, when thoroughly excited, had been at all times one
of the fiercest which could be found in Europe; and of late years they
had risen repeatedly against the Government, and sometimes not without
temporary success. They were conscious, therefore, that they were no
favourites with the rulers of the period, and that, if Captain Porteous's
violence was not altogether regarded as good service, it might certainly
be thought, that to visit it with a capital punishment would render it
both delicate and dangerous for future officers, in the same
circumstances, to act with effect in repressing tumults. There is also a
natural feeling, on the part of all members of Government, for the
general maintenance of authority; and it seemed not unlikely, that what
to the relatives of the sufferers appeared a wanton and unprovoked
massacre, should be otherwise viewed in the cabinet of St. James's. It
might be there supposed, that upon the whole matter, Captain Porteous was
in the exercise of a trust delegated to him by the lawful civil
authority; that he had been assaulted by the populace, and several of his
men hurt; and that, in finally repelling force by force, his conduct
could be fairly imputed to no other motive than self-defence in the
discharge of his duty.

These considerations, of themselves very powerful, induced the spectators
to apprehend the possibility of a reprieve; and to the various causes
which might interest the rulers in his favour, the lower part of the
rabble added one which was peculiarly well adapted to their
comprehension. It was averred, in order to increase the odium against
Porteous, that while he repressed with the utmost severity the slightest
excesses of the poor, he not only overlooked the license of the young
nobles and gentry, but was very willing to lend them the countenance of
his official authority, in execution of such loose pranks as it was
chiefly his duty to have restrained. This suspicion, which was perhaps
much exaggerated, made a deep impression on the minds of the populace;
and when several of the higher rank joined in a petition, recommending
Porteous to the mercy of the Crown, it was generally supposed he owed
their favour not to any conviction of the hardship of his case, but to
the fear of losing a convenient accomplice in their debaucheries. It is
scarcely necessary to say how much this suspicion augmented the people's
detestation of this obnoxious criminal, as well as their fear of his
escaping the sentence pronounced against him.

While these arguments were stated and replied to, and canvassed and
supported, the hitherto silent expectation of the people became changed
into that deep and agitating murmur, which is sent forth by the ocean
before the tempest begins to howl. The crowded populace, as if their
motions had corresponded with the unsettled state of their minds,
fluctuated to and fro without any visible cause of impulse, like the
agitation of the waters, called by sailors the ground-swell. The news,
which the magistrates had almost hesitated to communicate to them, were
at length announced, and spread among the spectators with a rapidity like
lightning. A reprieve from the Secretary of State's office, under the
hand of his Grace the Duke of Newcastle, had arrived, intimating the
pleasure of Queen Caroline (regent of the kingdom during the absence of
George II. on the Continent), that the execution of the sentence of death
pronounced against John Porteous, late Captain-Lieutenant of the City
Guard of Edinburgh, present prisoner in the Tolbooth of that city, be
respited for six weeks from the time appointed for his execution.

The assembled spectators of almost all degrees, whose minds had been
wound up to the pitch which we have described, uttered a groan, or rather
a roar of indignation and disappointed revenge, similar to that of a
tiger from whom his meal has been rent by his keeper when he was just
about to devour it. This fierce exclamation seemed to forbode some
immediate explosion of popular resentment, and, in fact, such had been
expected by the magistrates, and the necessary measures had been taken to
repress it. But the shout was not repeated, nor did any sudden tumult
ensue, such as it appeared to announce. The populace seemed to be ashamed
of having expressed their disappointment in a vain clamour, and the sound
changed, not into the silence which had preceded the arrival of these
stunning news, but into stifled mutterings, which each group maintained
among themselves, and which were blended into one deep and hoarse murmur
which floated above the assembly.

Yet still, though all expectation of the execution was over, the mob
remained assembled, stationary, as it were, through very resentment,
gazing on the preparations for death, which had now been made in vain,
and stimulating their feelings, by recalling the various claims which
Wilson might have had on royal mercy, from the mistaken motives on which
he acted, as well as from the generosity he had displayed towards his
accomplice. "This man," they said,--"the brave, the resolute, the
generous, was executed to death without mercy for stealing a purse of
gold, which in some sense he might consider as a fair reprisal; while the
profligate satellite, who took advantage of a trifling tumult,
inseparable from such occasions, to shed the blood of twenty of his
fellow-citizens, is deemed a fitting object for the exercise of the royal
prerogative of mercy. Is this to be borne?--would our fathers have borne
it? Are not we, like them, Scotsmen and burghers of Edinburgh?"

The officers of justice began now to remove the scaffold, and other
preparations which had been made for the execution, in hopes, by doing
so, to accelerate the dispersion of the multitude. The measure had the
desired effect; for no sooner had the fatal tree been unfixed from the
large stone pedestal or socket in which it was secured, and sunk slowly
down upon the wain intended to remove it to the place where it was
usually deposited, than the populace, after giving vent to their feelings
in a second shout of rage and mortification, began slowly to disperse to
their usual abodes and occupations.

The windows were in like manner gradually deserted, and groups of the
more decent class of citizens formed themselves, as if waiting to return
homewards when the streets should be cleared of the rabble. Contrary to
what is frequently the case, this description of persons agreed in
general with the sentiments of their inferiors, and considered the cause
as common to all ranks. Indeed, as we have already noticed, it was by no
means amongst the lowest class of the spectators, or those most likely to
be engaged in the riot at Wilson's execution, that the fatal fire of
Porteous's soldiers had taken effect. Several persons were killed who
were looking out at windows at the scene, who could not of course belong
to the rioters, and were persons of decent rank and condition. The
burghers, therefore, resenting the loss which had fallen on their own
body, and proud and tenacious of their rights, as the citizens of
Edinburgh have at all times been, were greatly exasperated at the
unexpected respite of Captain Porteous.

It was noticed at the time, and afterwards more particularly remembered,
that, while the mob were in the act of dispersing, several individuals
were seen busily passing from one place and one group of people to
another, remaining long with none, but whispering for a little time with
those who appeared to be declaiming most violently against the conduct of
Government. These active agents had the appearance of men from the
country, and were generally supposed to be old friends and confederates
of Wilson, whose minds were of course highly excited against Porteous.

If, however, it was the intention of these men to stir the multitude to
any sudden act of mutiny, it seemed for the time to be fruitless. The
rabble, as well as the more decent part of the assembly, dispersed, and
went home peaceably; and it was only by observing the moody discontent on
their brows, or catching the tenor of the conversation they held with
each other, that a stranger could estimate the state of their minds. We
will give the reader this advantage, by associating ourselves with one of
the numerous groups who were painfully ascending the steep declivity of
the West Bow, to return to their dwellings in the Lawnmarket.

"An unco thing this, Mrs. Howden," said old Peter Plumdamas to his
neighbour the rouping-wife, or saleswoman, as he offered her his arm to
assist her in the toilsome ascent, "to see the grit folk at Lunnon set
their face against law and gospel, and let loose sic a reprobate as
Porteous upon a peaceable town!"

"And to think o' the weary walk they hae gien us," answered Mrs. Howden,
with a groan; "and sic a comfortable window as I had gotten, too, just
within a penny-stane-cast of the scaffold--I could hae heard every word
the minister said--and to pay twalpennies for my stand, and a' for
naething!"

"I am judging," said Mr. Plumdamas, "that this reprieve wadna stand gude
in the auld Scots law, when the kingdom was a kingdom."

"I dinna ken muckle about the law," answered Mrs. Howden; "but I ken,
when we had a king, and a chancellor, and parliament men o' our ain, we
could aye peeble them wi' stanes when they werena gude bairns--But
naebody's nails can reach the length o' Lunnon."

"Weary on Lunnon, and a' that e'er came out o't!" said Miss Grizel
Damahoy, an ancient seamstress; "they hae taen away our parliament, and
they hae oppressed our trade. Our gentles will hardly allow that a Scots
needle can sew ruffles on a sark, or lace on an owerlay."

"Ye may say that--Miss Damahoy, and I ken o' them that hae gotten raisins
frae Lunnon by forpits at ance," responded Plumdamas; "and then sic an
host of idle English gaugers and excisemen as hae come down to vex and
torment us, that an honest man canna fetch sae muckle as a bit anker o'
brandy frae Leith to the Lawnmarket, but he's like to be rubbit o' the
very gudes he's bought and paid for.--Weel, I winna justify Andrew Wilson
for pitting hands on what wasna his; but if he took nae mair than his
ain, there's an awfu' difference between that and the fact this man
stands for."

"If ye speak about the law," said Mrs. Howden, "here comes Mr.
Saddletree, that can settle it as weel as ony on the bench."

The party she mentioned, a grave elderly person, with a superb periwig,
dressed in a decent suit of sad-coloured clothes, came up as she spoke,
and courteously gave his arm to Miss Grizel Damahoy.

It may be necessary to mention, that Mr. Bartoline Saddletree kept an
excellent and highly-esteemed shop for harness, saddles, &c. &c., at the
sign of the Golden Nag, at the head of Bess Wynd.*

* [Maitland calls it Best's Wynd, and later writers Beth's Wynd. As the
name implies, it was an open thoroughfare or alley leading from the
Lawnmarket, and extended in a direct line between the old Tolbooth to
near the head of the Cowgate. It was partly destroyed by fire in 1786,
and was totally removed in 1809, preparatory to the building of the new
libraries of the Faculty of Advocates and writers to the Signet.]

His genius, however (as he himself and most of his neighbours conceived),
lay towards the weightier matters of the law, and he failed not to give
frequent attendance upon the pleadings and arguments of the lawyers and
judges in the neighbouring square, where, to say the truth, he was
oftener to be found than would have consisted with his own emolument; but
that his wife, an active painstaking person, could, in his absence, make
an admirable shift to please the customers and scold the journeymen. This
good lady was in the habit of letting her husband take his way, and go on
improving his stock of legal knowledge without interruption; but, as if
in requital, she insisted upon having her own will in the domestic and
commercial departments which he abandoned to her. Now, as Bartoline
Saddletree had a considerable gift of words, which he mistook for
eloquence, and conferred more liberally upon the society in which he
lived than was at all times gracious and acceptable, there went forth a
saying, with which wags used sometimes to interrupt his rhetoric, that,
as he had a golden nag at his door, so he had a grey mare in his shop.
This reproach induced Mr. Saddletree, on all occasions, to assume rather
a haughty and stately tone towards his good woman, a circumstance by
which she seemed very little affected, unless he attempted to exercise
any real authority, when she never failed to fly into open rebellion. But
such extremes Bartoline seldom provoked; for, like the gentle King Jamie,
he was fonder of talking of authority than really exercising it. This
turn of mind was, on the whole, lucky for him; since his substance was
increased without any trouble on his part, or any interruption of his
favourite studies.

This word in explanation has been thrown in to the reader, while
Saddletree was laying down, with great precision, the law upon Porteous's
case, by which he arrived at this conclusion, that, if Porteous had fired
five minutes sooner, before Wilson was cut down, he would have been
_versans in licito;_ engaged, that is, in a lawful act, and only liable
to be punished _propter excessum,_ or for lack of discretion, which might
have mitigated the punishment to _poena ordinaria._

"Discretion!" echoed Mrs. Howden, on whom, it may well be supposed, the
fineness of this distinction was entirely thrown away,--"whan had Jock
Porteous either grace, discretion, or gude manners?--I mind when his
father"

"But, Mrs. Howden," said Saddletree--

"And I," said Miss Damahoy, "mind when his mother"

"Miss Damahoy," entreated the interrupted orator

"And I," said Plumdamas, "mind when his wife"

"Mr. Plumdamas--Mrs. Howden--Miss Damahoy," again implored the
orator,--"Mind the distinction, as Counsellor Crossmyloof says--'I,'
says he, 'take a distinction.' Now, the body of the criminal being cut
down, and the execution ended, Porteous was no longer official; the act
which he came to protect and guard, being done and ended, he was no
better than _cuivis ex populo._"

"_Quivis--quivis,_ Mr. Saddletree, craving your pardon," said (with a
prolonged emphasis on the first syllable) Mr. Butler, the
deputy-schoolmaster of a parish near Edinburgh, who at that moment came
up behind them as the false Latin was uttered.

"What signifies interrupting me, Mr. Butler?--but I am glad to see ye
notwithstanding--I speak after Counsellor Crossmyloof, and he said
_cuivis._"

"If Counsellor Crossmyloof used the dative for the nominative, I would
have crossed his loof with a tight leathern strap, Mr. Saddletree; there
is not a boy on the booby form but should have been scourged for such a
solecism in grammar."

"I speak Latin like a lawyer, Mr. Butler, and not like a schoolmaster,"
retorted Saddletree.

"Scarce like a schoolboy, I think," rejoined Butler.

"It matters little," said Bartoline; "all I mean to say is, that Porteous
has become liable to the _poena extra ordinem,_ or capital
punishment--which is to say, in plain Scotch, the gallows--simply
because he did not fire when he was in office, but waited till the body
was cut down, the execution whilk he had in charge to guard implemented,
and he himself exonered of the public trust imposed on him."

"But, Mr. Saddletree," said Plumdamas, "do ye really think John
Porteous's case wad hae been better if he had begun firing before ony
stanes were flung at a'?"

"Indeed do I, neighbour Plumdamas," replied Bartoline, confidently, "he
being then in point of trust and in point of power, the execution being
but inchoat, or, at least, not implemented, or finally ended; but after
Wilson was cut down it was a' ower--he was clean exauctorate, and had nae
mair ado but to get awa wi' his guard up this West Bow as fast as if
there had been a caption after him--And this is law, for I heard it laid
down by Lord Vincovincentem."

"Vincovincentem?--Is he a lord of state, or a lord of seat?" inquired
Mrs. Howden.*

* A nobleman was called a Lord of State. The Senators of the College * of
Justice were termed Lords of Seat, or of the Session.

"A lord of seat--a lord of session.--I fash mysell little wi' lords o'
state; they vex me wi' a wheen idle questions about their saddles, and
curpels, and holsters and horse-furniture, and what they'll cost, and
whan they'll be ready--a wheen galloping geese--my wife may serve the
like o' them."

"And so might she, in her day, hae served the best lord in the land, for
as little as ye think o' her, Mr. Saddletree," said Mrs. Howden, somewhat
indignant at the contemptuous way in which her gossip was mentioned;
"when she and I were twa gilpies, we little thought to hae sitten doun
wi' the like o' my auld Davie Howden, or you either, Mr. Saddletree."

While Saddletree, who was not bright at a reply, was cudgelling his
brains for an answer to this homethrust, Miss Damahoy broke in on him.

"And as for the lords of state," said Miss Damahoy, "ye suld mind the
riding o' the parliament, Mr. Saddletree, in the gude auld time before
the Union,--a year's rent o' mony a gude estate gaed for horse-graith and
harnessing, forby broidered robes and foot-mantles, that wad hae stude by
their lane wi' gold brocade, and that were muckle in my ain line."

"Ay, and then the lusty banqueting, with sweetmeats and comfits wet and
dry, and dried fruits of divers sorts," said Plumdamas. "But Scotland was
Scotland in these days."

"I'll tell ye what it is, neighbours," said Mrs. Howden, "I'll ne'er
believe Scotland is Scotland ony mair, if our kindly Scots sit doun with
the affront they hae gien us this day. It's not only the blude that _is_
shed, but the blude that might hae been shed, that's required at our
hands; there was my daughter's wean, little Eppie Daidle--my oe, ye ken,
Miss Grizel--had played the truant frae the school, as bairns will do, ye
ken, Mr. Butler?"

"And for which," interjected Mr. Butler, "they should be soundly scourged
by their well-wishers."

"And had just cruppen to the gallows' foot to see the hanging, as was
natural for a wean; and what for mightna she hae been shot as weel as the
rest o' them, and where wad we a' hae been then? I wonder how Queen
Carline (if her name be Carline) wad hae liked to hae had ane o' her ain
bairns in sic a venture?"

"Report says," answered Butler, "that such a circumstance would not have
distressed her majesty beyond endurance."

"Aweel," said Mrs. Howden, "the sum o' the matter is, that, were I a man,
I wad hae amends o' Jock Porteous, be the upshot what like o't, if a' the
carles and carlines in England had sworn to the nay-say."

"I would claw down the Tolbooth door wi' my nails," said Miss Grizel,
"but I wad be at him."

"Ye may be very right, ladies," said Butler, "but I would not advise you
to speak so loud."

"Speak!" exclaimed both the ladies together, "there will be naething else
spoken about frae the Weigh-house to the Water-gate, till this is either
ended or mended."

The females now departed to their respective places of abode. Plumdamas
joined the other two gentlemen in drinking their _meridian_ (a
bumper-dram of brandy), as they passed the well-known low-browed shop in
the Lawnmarket, where they were wont to take that refreshment. Mr.
Plumdamas then departed towards his shop, and Mr. Butler, who happened to
have some particular occasion for the rein of an old bridle (the truants
of that busy day could have anticipated its application), walked down the
Lawnmarket with Mr. Saddletree, each talking as he could get a word
thrust in, the one on the laws of Scotland, the other on those of syntax,
and neither listening to a word which his companion uttered.



CHAPTER FOURTH.


            Elswhair he colde right weel lay down the law,
                But in his house was meek as is a daw.
                                                  Davie Lindsay.

"There has been Jock Driver the carrier here, speering about his new
graith," said Mrs. Saddletree to her husband, as he crossed his
threshold, not with the purpose, by any means, of consulting him upon his
own affairs, but merely to intimate, by a gentle recapitulation, how much
duty she had gone through in his absence.

"Weel," replied Bartoline, and deigned not a word more.

"And the laird of Girdingburst has had his running footman here, and ca'd
himsell (he's a civil pleasant young gentleman), to see when the
broidered saddle-cloth for his sorrel horse will be ready, for he wants
it agane the Kelso races."

"Weel, aweel," replied Bartoline, as laconically as before.

"And his lordship, the Earl of Blazonbury, Lord Flash and Flame, is like
to be clean daft, that the harness for the six Flanders mears, wi' the
crests, coronets, housings, and mountings conform, are no sent hame
according to promise gien."

"Weel, weel, weel--weel, weel, gudewife," said Saddletree, "if he gangs
daft, we'll hae him cognosced--it's a' very weel."

"It's weel that ye think sae, Mr. Saddletree," answered his helpmate,
rather nettled at the indifference with which her report was received;
"there's mony ane wad hae thought themselves affronted, if sae mony
customers had ca'd and naebody to answer them but women-folk; for a' the
lads were aff, as soon as your back was turned, to see Porteous hanged,
that might be counted upon; and sae, you no being at hame."

"Houts, Mrs. Saddletree," said Bartoline, with an air of consequence,
"dinna deave me wi' your nonsense; I was under the necessity of being
elsewhere--_non omnia_--as Mr. Crossmyloof said, when he was called by
two macers at once--_non omnia possumus--pessimus--possimis_--I ken our
law-latin offends Mr. Butler's ears, but it means, Naebody, an it were
the Lord President himsell, can do twa turns at ance."

"Very right, Mr. Saddletree," answered his careful helpmate, with a
sarcastic smile; "and nae doubt it's a decent thing to leave your wife to
look after young gentlemen's saddles and bridles, when ye gang to see a
man, that never did ye nae ill, raxing a halter."

"Woman," said Saddletree, assuming an elevated tone, to which the
_meridian_ had somewhat contributed, "desist,--I say forbear, from
intromitting with affairs thou canst not understand. D'ye think I was
born to sit here brogging an elshin through bend-leather, when sic men as
Duncan Forbes, and that other Arniston chield there, without muckle
greater parts, if the close-head speak true, than mysell maun be
presidents and king's advocates, nae doubt, and wha but they? Whereas,
were favour equally distribute, as in the days of the wight Wallace."

"I ken naething we wad hae gotten by the wight Wallace," said Mrs.
Saddletree, "unless, as I hae heard the auld folk tell, they fought in
thae days wi' bend-leather guns, and then it's a chance but what, if he
had bought them, he might have forgot to pay for them. And as for the
greatness of your parts, Bartley, the folk in the close-head* maun ken
mair about them than I do, if they make sic a report of them."

* [_Close-head,_ the entrance of a blind alley.]

"I tell ye, woman," said Saddletree, in high dudgeon, "that ye ken
naething about these matters. In Sir William Wallace's days there was nae
man pinned down to sic a slavish wark as a saddler's, for they got ony
leather graith that they had use for ready-made out of Holland."

"Well," said Butler, who was, like many of his profession, something of a
humorist and dry joker, "if that be the case, Mr. Saddletree, I think we
have changed for the better; since we make our own harness, and only
import our lawyers from Holland."

"It's ower true, Mr. Butler," answered Bartoline, with a sigh; "if I had
had the luck--or rather, if my father had had the sense to send me to
Leyden and Utrecht to learn the Substitutes and Pandex."

"You mean the Institutes--Justinian's Institutes, Mr. Saddletree?" said
Butler.

"Institutes and substitutes are synonymous words, Mr. Butler, and used
indifferently as such in deeds of tailzie, as you may see in Balfour's
Practiques, or Dallas of St. Martin's Styles. I understand these things
pretty weel, I thank God but I own I should have studied in Holland."

"To comfort you, you might not have been farther forward than you are
now, Mr. Saddletree," replied Mr. Butler; "for our Scottish advocates are
an aristocratic race. Their brass is of the right Corinthian quality, and
_Non cuivis contigit adire Corinthum_--Aha, Mr. Saddletree?"

"And aha, Mr. Butler," rejoined Bartoline, upon whom, as may be well
supposed, the jest was lost, and all but the sound of the words, "ye said
a gliff syne it was _quivis,_ and now I heard ye say _cuivis_ with my ain
ears, as plain as ever I heard a word at the fore-bar."

"Give me your patience, Mr. Saddletree, and I'll explain the discrepancy
in three words," said Butler, as pedantic in his own department, though
with infinitely more judgment and learning, as Bartoline was in his
self-assumed profession of the law--"Give me your patience for a
moment--You'll grant that the nominative case is that by which a person or
thing is nominated or designed, and which may be called the primary case,
all others being formed from it by alterations of the termination in the
learned languages, and by prepositions in our modern Babylonian
jargons--You'll grant me that, I suppose, Mr. Saddletree?"

"I dinna ken whether I will or no--_ad avisandum,_ ye ken--naebody should
be in a hurry to make admissions, either in point of law, or in point of
fact," said Saddletree, looking, or endeavouring to look, as if he
understood what was said.

"And the dative case," continued Butler

"I ken what a tutor dative is," said Saddletree, "readily enough."

"The dative case," resumed the grammarian, "is that in which anything is
given or assigned as properly belonging to a person or thing--You cannot
deny that, I am sure."

"I am sure I'll no grant it, though," said Saddletree.

"Then, what the _deevil_ d'ye take the nominative and the dative cases to
be?" said Butler, hastily, and surprised at once out of his decency of
expression and accuracy of pronunciation.

"I'll tell you that at leisure, Mr. Butler," said Saddletree, with a very
knowing look; "I'll take a day to see and answer every article of your
condescendence, and then I'll hold you to confess or deny as accords."

"Come, come, Mr. Saddletree," said his wife, "we'll hae nae confessions
and condescendences here; let them deal in thae sort o' wares that are
paid for them--they suit the like o' us as all as a demipique saddle
would suit a draught ox."

"Aha!" said Mr. Butler, "_Optat ephippia bos piger,_ nothing new under
the sun--But it was a fair hit of Mrs. Saddletree, however."

"And it wad far better become ye, Mr. Saddletree," continued his
helpmate, "since ye say ye hae skeel o' the law, to try if ye can do
onything for Effie Deans, puir thing, that's lying up in the tolbooth
yonder, cauld, and hungry, and comfortless--A servant lass of ours, Mr.
Butler, and as innocent a lass, to my thinking, and as usefu' in the
shop--When Mr. Saddletree gangs out,--and ye're aware he's seldom at hame
when there's ony o' the plea-houses open,--poor Effie used to help me to
tumble the bundles o' barkened leather up and down, and range out the
gudes, and suit a' body's humours--And troth, she could aye please the
customers wi' her answers, for she was aye civil, and a bonnier lass
wasna in Auld Reekie. And when folk were hasty and unreasonable, she
could serve them better than me, that am no sae young as I hae been, Mr.
Butler, and a wee bit short in the temper into the bargain. For when
there's ower mony folks crying on me at anes, and nane but ae tongue to
answer them, folk maun speak hastily, or they'll ne'er get through their
wark--Sae I miss Effie daily."

"_De die in diem,_" added Saddletree.

"I think," said Butler, after a good deal of hesitation, "I have seen the
girl in the shop--a modest-looking, fair-haired girl?"

"Ay, ay, that's just puir Effie," said her mistress. "How she was
abandoned to hersell, or whether she was sackless o' the sinful deed, God
in Heaven knows; but if she's been guilty, she's been sair tempted, and I
wad amaist take my Bible-aith she hasna been hersell at the time."

Butler had by this time become much agitated; he fidgeted up and down the
shop, and showed the greatest agitation that a person of such strict
decorum could be supposed to give way to. "Was not this girl," he said,
"the daughter of David Deans, that had the parks at St. Leonard's taken?
and has she not a sister?"

"In troth has she,--puir Jeanie Deans, ten years aulder than hersell; she
was here greeting a wee while syne about her tittie. And what could I say
to her, but that she behoved to come and speak to Mr. Saddletree when he
was at hame? It wasna that I thought Mr. Saddletree could do her or ony
ither body muckle good or ill, but it wad aye serve to keep the puir
thing's heart up for a wee while; and let sorrow come when sorrow maun."

"Ye're mistaen though, gudewife," said Saddletree scornfully, "for I
could hae gien her great satisfaction; I could hae proved to her that her
sister was indicted upon the statute saxteen hundred and ninety, chapter
one--For the mair ready prevention of child-murder--for concealing her
pregnancy, and giving no account of the child which she had borne."

"I hope," said Butler,--"I trust in a gracious God, that she can clear
herself."

"And sae do I, Mr. Butler," replied Mrs. Saddletree. "I am sure I wad hae
answered for her as my ain daughter; but wae's my heart, I had been
tender a' the simmer, and scarce ower the door o' my room for twal weeks.
And as for Mr. Saddletree, he might be in a lying-in hospital, and ne'er
find out what the women cam there for. Sae I could see little or naething
o' her, or I wad hae had the truth o' her situation out o' her, I'se
warrant ye--But we a' think her sister maun be able to speak something to
clear her."

"The haill Parliament House," said Saddletree, "was speaking o' naething
else, till this job o' Porteous's put it out o' head--It's a beautiful
point of presumptive murder, and there's been nane like it in the
Justiciar Court since the case of Luckie Smith the howdie, that suffered
in the year saxteen hundred and seventy-nine."

"But what's the matter wi' you, Mr. Butler?" said the good woman; "ye are
looking as white as a sheet; will ye tak a dram?"

"By no means," said Butler, compelling himself to speak. "I walked in
from Dumfries yesterday, and this is a warm day."

"Sit down," said Mrs. Saddletree, laying hands on him kindly, "and rest
ye--yell kill yoursell, man, at that rate.--And are we to wish you joy o'
getting the scule, Mr. Butler?"

"Yes--no--I do not know," answered the young man vaguely. But Mrs.
Saddletree kept him to point, partly out of real interest, partly from
curiosity.

"Ye dinna ken whether ye are to get the free scule o' Dumfries or no,
after hinging on and teaching it a' the simmer?"

"No, Mrs. Saddletree--I am not to have it," replied Butler, more
collectedly. "The Laird of Black-at-the-Bane had a natural son bred to
the kirk, that the Presbytery could not be prevailed upon to license; and
so."

"Ay, ye need say nae mair about it; if there was a laird that had a puir
kinsman or a bastard that it wad suit, there's enough said.--And ye're
e'en come back to Liberton to wait for dead men's shoon?--and for as
frail as Mr. Whackbairn is, he may live as lang as you, that are his
assistant and successor."

"Very like," replied Butler, with a sigh; "I do not know if I should wish
it otherwise."

"Nae doubt, it's a very vexing thing," continued the good lady, "to be in
that dependent station; and you that hae right and title to sae muckle
better, I wonder how ye bear these crosses."

"_Quos diligit castigat,_" answered Butler; "even the pagan Seneca could
see an advantage in affliction, The Heathens had their philosophy, and
the Jews their revelation, Mrs. Saddletree, and they endured their
distresses in their day. Christians have a better dispensation than
either--but doubtless--"

He stopped and sighed.

"I ken what ye mean," said Mrs. Saddletree, looking toward her husband;
"there's whiles we lose patience in spite of baith book and Bible--But ye
are no gaun awa, and looking sae poorly--ye'll stay and take some kale
wi' us?"

Mr. Saddletree laid aside Balfour's Practiques (his favourite study, and
much good may it do him), to join in his wife's hospitable importunity.
But the teacher declined all entreaty, and took his leave upon the spot.

"There's something in a' this," said Mrs. Saddletree, looking after him
as he walked up the street; "I wonder what makes Mr. Butler sae
distressed about Effie's misfortune--there was nae acquaintance atween
them that ever I saw or heard of; but they were neighbours when David
Deans was on the Laird o' Dumbiedikes' land. Mr. Butler wad ken her
father, or some o' her folk.--Get up, Mr. Saddletree--ye have set
yoursell down on the very brecham that wants stitching--and here's little
Willie, the prentice.--Ye little rin-there-out deil that ye are, what
takes you raking through the gutters to see folk hangit?--how wad ye like
when it comes to be your ain chance, as I winna ensure ye, if ye dinna
mend your manners?--And what are ye maundering and greeting for, as if a
word were breaking your banes?--Gang in by, and be a better bairn another
time, and tell Peggy to gie ye a bicker o' broth, for ye'll be as gleg as
a gled, I'se warrant ye.--It's a fatherless bairn, Mr. Saddletree, and
motherless, whilk in some cases may be waur, and ane would take care o'
him if they could--it's a Christian duty."

"Very true, gudewife," said Saddletree in reply, "we are _in loco
parentis_ to him during his years of pupillarity, and I hae had thoughts
of applying to the Court for a commission as factor _loco tutoris,_
seeing there is nae tutor nominate, and the tutor-at-law declines to act;
but only I fear the expense of the procedure wad not be _in rem versam,_
for I am not aware if Willie has ony effects whereof to assume the
administration."

He concluded this sentence with a self-important cough, as one who has
laid down the law in an indisputable manner.

"Effects!" said Mrs. Saddletree, "what effects has the puir wean?--he was
in rags when his mother died; and the blue polonie that Effie made for
him out of an auld mantle of my ain, was the first decent dress the bairn
ever had on. Poor Effie! can ye tell me now really, wi' a' your law, will
her life be in danger, Mr. Saddletree, when they arena able to prove that
ever there was a bairn ava?"

"Whoy," said Mr. Saddletree, delighted at having for once in his life
seen his wife's attention arrested by a topic of legal discussion--"Whoy,
there are two sorts of _murdrum_ or _murdragium,_ or what you
_populariter et vulgariser_ call murther. I mean there are many sorts;
for there's your _murthrum per vigilias et insidias,_ and your _murthrum_
under trust."

"I am sure," replied his moiety, "that murther by trust is the way that
the gentry murther us merchants, and whiles make us shut the booth
up--but that has naething to do wi' Effie's misfortune."

"The case of Effie (or Euphemia) Deans," resumed Saddletree, "is one of
those cases of murder presumptive, that is, a murder of the law's
inferring or construction, being derived from certain _indicia_ or
grounds of suspicion."

"So that," said the good woman, "unless poor Effie has communicated her
situation, she'll be hanged by the neck, if the bairn was still-born, or
if it be alive at this moment?"

"Assuredly," said Saddletree, "it being a statute made by our Sovereign
Lord and Lady, to prevent the horrid delict of bringing forth children in
secret--The crime is rather a favourite of the law, this species of
murther being one of its ain creation."

"Then, if the law makes murders," said Mrs. Saddletree, "the law should
be hanged for them; or if they wad hang a lawyer instead, the country wad
find nae faut."

A summons to their frugal dinner interrupted the farther progress of the
conversation, which was otherwise like to take a turn much less
favourable to the science of jurisprudence and its professors, than Mr.
Bartoline Saddletree, the fond admirer of both, had at its opening
anticipated.



CHAPTER FIFTH.


                   But up then raise all Edinburgh.
                   They all rose up by thousands three.
                                      Johnnie Armstrang's _Goodnight._

Butler, on his departure from the sign of the Golden Nag, went in quest
of a friend of his connected with the law, of whom he wished to make
particular inquiries concerning the circumstances in which the
unfortunate young woman mentioned in the last chapter was placed, having,
as the reader has probably already conjectured, reasons much deeper than
those dictated by mere humanity for interesting himself in her fate. He
found the person he sought absent from home, and was equally unfortunate
in one or two other calls which he made upon acquaintances whom he hoped
to interest in her story. But everybody was, for the moment, stark-mad on
the subject of Porteous, and engaged busily in attacking or defending the
measures of Government in reprieving him; and the ardour of dispute had
excited such universal thirst, that half the young lawyers and writers,
together with their very clerks, the class whom Butler was looking after,
had adjourned the debate to some favourite tavern. It was computed by an
experienced arithmetician, that there was as much twopenny ale consumed
on the discussion as would have floated a first-rate man-of-war.

Butler wandered about until it was dusk, resolving to take that
opportunity of visiting the unfortunate young woman, when his doing so
might be least observed; for he had his own reasons for avoiding the
remarks of Mrs. Saddletree, whose shop-door opened at no great distance
from that of the jail, though on the opposite or south side of the
street, and a little higher up. He passed, therefore, through the narrow
and partly covered passage leading from the north-west end of the
Parliament Square.

He stood now before the Gothic entrance of the ancient prison, which, as
is well known to all men, rears its ancient front in the very middle of
the High Street, forming, as it were, the termination to a huge pile of
buildings called the Luckenbooths, which, for some inconceivable reason,
our ancestors had jammed into the midst of the principal street of the
town, leaving for passage a narrow street on the north; and on the south,
into which the prison opens, a narrow crooked lane, winding betwixt the
high and sombre walls of the Tolbooth and the adjacent houses on the one
side, and the butresses and projections of the old Cathedral upon the
other. To give some gaiety to this sombre passage (well known by the name
of the Krames), a number of little booths, or shops, after the fashion of
cobblers' stalls, are plastered, as it were, against the Gothic
projections and abutments, so that it seemed as if the traders had
occupied with nests, bearing the same proportion to the building, every
buttress and coign of vantage, as the martlett did in Macbeth's Castle.
Of later years these booths have degenerated into mere toy-shops, where
the little loiterers chiefly interested in such wares are tempted to
linger, enchanted by the rich display of hobby-horses, babies, and Dutch
toys, arranged in artful and gay confusion; yet half-scared by the cross
looks of the withered pantaloon, or spectacled old lady, by whom these
tempting stores are watched and superintended. But, in the times we write
of, the hosiers, the glovers, the hatters, the mercers, the milliners,
and all who dealt in the miscellaneous wares now termed haberdasher's
goods, were to be found in this narrow alley.

To return from our digression. Butler found the outer turnkey, a tall
thin old man, with long silver hair, in the act of locking the outward
door of the jail. He addressed himself to this person, and asked
admittance to Effie Deans, confined upon accusation of child-murder. The
turnkey looked at him earnestly, and, civilly touching his hat out of
respect to Butler's black coat and clerical appearance, replied, "It was
impossible any one could be admitted at present."

"You shut up earlier than usual, probably on account of Captain
Porteous's affair?" said Butler.

The turnkey, with the true mystery of a person in office, gave two grave
nods, and withdrawing from the wards a ponderous key of about two feet in
length, he proceeded to shut a strong plate of steel, which folded down
above the keyhole, and was secured by a steel spring and catch. Butler
stood still instinctively while the door was made fast, and then looking
at his watch, walked briskly up the street, muttering to himself, almost
unconsciously--

               Porta adversa, ingens, solidoque adamante columnae;
               Vis ut nulla virum, non ipsi exscindere ferro
               Coelicolae valeant--Stat ferrea turris ad auras--etc.*
                                        Dryden's _Virgil,_ Book vi.

* Wide is the fronting gate, and, raised on high, With adamantine columns
threats the sky; Vain is the force of man, and Heaven's as vain, To crush
the pillars which the pile sustain: Sublime on these a tower of steel is
reard.

Having wasted half-an-hour more in a second fruitless attempt to find his
legal friend and adviser, he thought it time to leave the city and return
to his place of residence, in a small village about two miles and a half
to the southward of Edinburgh. The metropolis was at this time surrounded
by a high wall, with battlements and flanking projections at some
intervals, and the access was through gates, called in the Scottish
language _ports,_ which were regularly shut at night. A small fee to the
keepers would indeed procure egress and ingress at any time, through a
wicket left for that purpose in the large gate; but it was of some
importance, to a man so poor as Butler, to avoid even this slight
pecuniary mulct; and fearing the hour of shutting the gates might be
near, he made for that to which he found himself nearest, although, by
doing so, he somewhat lengthened his walk homewards. Bristo Port was that
by which his direct road lay, but the West Port, which leads out of the
Grassmarket, was the nearest of the city gates to the place where he
found himself, and to that, therefore, he directed his course. He reached
the port in ample time to pass the circuit of the walls, and entered a
suburb called Portsburgh, chiefly inhabited by the lower order of
citizens and mechanics. Here he was unexpectedly interrupted.

He had not gone far from the gate before he heard the sound of a drum,
and, to his great surprise, met a number of persons, sufficient to occupy
the whole front of the street, and form a considerable mass behind,
moving with great speed towards the gate he had just come from, and
having in front of them a drum beating to arms. While he considered how
he should escape a party, assembled, as it might be presumed, for no
lawful purpose, they came full on him and stopped him.

"Are you a clergyman?" one questioned him.

Butler replied that "he was in orders, but was not a placed minister."

"It's Mr. Butler from Liberton," said a voice from behind, "he'll
discharge the duty as weel as ony man."

"You must turn back with us, sir," said the first speaker, in a tone
civil but peremptory.

"For what purpose, gentlemen?" said Mr. Butler. "I live at some distance
from town--the roads are unsafe by night--you will do me a serious injury
by stopping me."

"You shall be sent safely home--no man shall touch a hair of your
head--but you must and shall come along with us."

"But to what purpose or end, gentlemen?" said Butler. "I hope you will be
so civil as to explain that to me."

"You shall know that in good time. Come along--for come you must, by
force or fair means; and I warn you to look neither to the right hand nor
the left, and to take no notice of any man's face, but consider all that
is passing before you as a dream."

"I would it were a dream I could awaken from," said Butler to himself;
but having no means to oppose the violence with which he was threatened,
he was compelled to turn round and march in front of the rioters, two men
partly supporting and partly holding him. During this parley the
insurgents had made themselves masters of the West Port, rushing upon the
Waiters (so the people were called who had the charge of the gates), and
possessing themselves of the keys. They bolted and barred the folding
doors, and commanded the person, whose duty it usually was, to secure the
wicket, of which they did not understand the fastenings. The man,
terrified at an incident so totally unexpected, was unable to perform his
usual office, and gave the matter up, after several attempts. The
rioters, who seemed to have come prepared for every emergency, called for
torches, by the light of which they nailed up the wicket with long nails,
which, it seemed probable, they had provided on purpose.

While this was going on, Butler could not, even if he had been willing,
avoid making remarks on the individuals who seemed to lead this singular
mob. The torch-light, while it fell on their forms and left him in the
shade, gave him an opportunity to do so without their observing him.
Several of those who seemed most active were dressed in sailors' jackets,
trousers, and sea-caps; others in large loose-bodied greatcoats, and
slouched hats; and there were several who, judging from their dress,
should have been called women, whose rough deep voices, uncommon size,
and masculine, deportment and mode of walking, forbade them being so
interpreted. They moved as if by some well-concerted plan of arrangement.
They had signals by which they knew, and nicknames by which they
distinguished each other. Butler remarked, that the name of Wildfire was
used among them, to which one stout Amazon seemed to reply.

The rioters left a small party to observe the West Port, and directed the
Waiters, as they valued their lives, to remain within their lodge, and
make no attempt for that night to repossess themselves of the gate. They
then moved with rapidity along the low street called the Cowgate, the mob
of the city everywhere rising at the sound of their drum, and joining
them. When the multitude arrived at the Cowgate Port, they secured it
with as little opposition as the former, made it fast, and left a small
party to observe it. It was afterwards remarked, as a striking instance
of prudence and precaution, singularly combined with audacity, that the
parties left to guard those gates did not remain stationary on their
posts, but flitted to and fro, keeping so near the gates as to see that
no efforts were made to open them, yet not remaining so long as to have
their persons closely observed. The mob, at first only about one hundred
strong, now amounted to thousands, and were increasing every moment. They
divided themselves so as to ascend with more speed the various narrow
lanes which lead up from the Cowgate to the High Street; and still
beating to arms as they went, an calling on all true Scotsmen to join
them, they now filled the principal street of the city.

The Netherbow Port might be called the Temple Bar of Edinburgh, as,
intersecting the High Street at its termination, it divided Edinburgh,
properly so called, from the suburb named the Canongate, as Temple Bar
separates London from Westminster. It was of the utmost importance to the
rioters to possess themselves of this pass, because there was quartered
in the Canongate at that time a regiment of infantry, commanded by
Colonel Moyle, which might have occupied the city by advancing through
this gate, and would possess the power of totally defeating their
purpose. The leaders therefore hastened to the Netherbow Port, which they
secured in the same manner, and with as little trouble, as the other
gates, leaving a party to watch it, strong in proportion to the
importance of the post.

The next object of these hardy insurgents was at once to disarm the City
Guard, and to procure arms for themselves; for scarce any weapons but
staves and bludgeons had been yet seen among them. The Guard-house was a
long, low, ugly building (removed in 1787), which to a fanciful
imagination might have suggested the idea of a long black snail crawling
up the middle of the High Street, and deforming its beautiful esplanade.
This formidable insurrection had been so unexpected, that there were no
more than the ordinary sergeant's guard of the city-corps upon duty; even
these were without any supply of powder and ball; and sensible enough
what had raised the storm, and which way it was rolling, could hardly be
supposed very desirous to expose themselves by a valiant defence to the
animosity of so numerous and desperate a mob, to whom they were on the
present occasion much more than usually obnoxious.

There was a sentinel upon guard, who (that one town-guard soldier might
do his duty on that eventful evening) presented his piece, and desired
the foremost of the rioters to stand off. The young Amazon, whom Butler
had observed particularly active, sprung upon the soldier, seized his
musket, and after a struggle succeeded in wrenching it from him, and
throwing him down on the causeway. One or two soldiers, who endeavoured
to turn out to the support of their sentinel, were in the same manner
seized and disarmed, and the mob without difficulty possessed themselves
of the Guard-house, disarming and turning out of doors the rest of the
men on duty. It was remarked, that, notwithstanding the city soldiers had
been the instruments of the slaughter which this riot was designed to
revenge, no ill usage or even insult was offered to them. It seemed as if
the vengeance of the people disdained to stoop at any head meaner than
that which they considered as the source and origin of their injuries.

On possessing themselves of the guard, the first act of the multitude was
to destroy the drums, by which they supposed an alarm might be conveyed
to the garrison in the castle; for the same reason they now silenced
their own, which was beaten by a young fellow, son to the drummer of
Portsburgh, whom they had forced upon that service. Their next business
was to distribute among the boldest of the rioters the guns, bayonets,
partisans, halberts, and battle or Lochaber axes. Until this period the
principal rioters had preserved silence on the ultimate object of their
rising, as being that which all knew, but none expressed. Now, however,
having accomplished all the preliminary parts of their design, they
raised a tremendous shout of "Porteous! Porteous! To the Tolbooth! To the
Tolbooth!"


[Illustration: Tolbooth, Cannongate]


They proceeded with the same prudence when the object seemed to be nearly
in their grasp, as they had done hitherto when success was more dubious.
A strong party of the rioters, drawn up in front of the Luckenbooths, and
facing down the street, prevented all access from the eastward, and the
west end of the defile formed by the Luckenbooths was secured in the same
manner; so that the Tolbooth was completely surrounded, and those who
undertook the task of breaking it open effectually secured against the
risk of interruption.

The magistrates, in the meanwhile, had taken the alarm, and assembled in
a tavern, with the purpose of raising some strength to subdue the
rioters. The deacons, or presidents of the trades, were applied to, but
declared there was little chance of their authority being respected by
the craftsmen, where it was the object to save a man so obnoxious. Mr.
Lindsay, member of parliament for the city, volunteered the perilous task
of carrying a verbal message, from the Lord Provost to Colonel Moyle, the
commander of the regiment lying in the Canongate, requesting him to force
the Netherbow Port, and enter the city to put down the tumult. But Mr.
Lindsay declined to charge himself with any written order, which, if
found on his person by an enraged mob, might have cost him his life; and
the issue, of the application was, that Colonel Moyle having no written
requisition from the civil authorities, and having the fate of Porteous
before his eyes as an example of the severe construction put by a jury on
the proceedings of military men acting on their own responsibility,
declined to encounter the risk to which the Provost's verbal
communication invited him.

More than one messenger was despatched by different ways to the Castle,
to require the commanding officer to march down his troops, to fire a few
cannon-shot, or even to throw a shell among the mob, for the purpose of
clearing the streets. But so strict and watchful were the various patrols
whom the rioters had established in different parts of the streets, that
none of the emissaries of the magistrates could reach the gate of the
Castle. They were, however, turned back without either injury or insult,
and with nothing more of menace than was necessary to deter them from
again attempting to accomplish their errand.

The same vigilance was used to prevent everybody of the higher, and those
which, in this case, might be deemed the more suspicious orders of
society, from appearing in the street, and observing the movements, or
distinguishing the persons, of the rioters. Every person in the garb of a
gentleman was stopped by small parties of two or three of the mob, who
partly exhorted, partly required of them, that they should return to the
place from whence they came. Many a quadrille table was spoilt that
memorable evening; for the sedan chairs of ladies; even of the highest
rank, were interrupted in their passage from one point to another, in
spite of the laced footmen and blazing flambeaux. This was uniformly done
with a deference and attention to the feelings of the terrified females,
which could hardly have been expected from the videttes of a mob so
desperate. Those who stopped the chair usually made the excuse, that
there was much disturbance on the streets, and that it was absolutely
necessary for the lady's safety that the chair should turn back. They
offered themselves to escort the vehicles which they had thus interrupted
in their progress, from the apprehension, probably, that some of those
who had casually united themselves to the riot might disgrace their
systematic and determined plan of vengeance, by those acts of general
insult and license which are common on similar occasions.

Persons are yet living who remember to have heard from the mouths of
ladies thus interrupted on their journey in the manner we have described,
that they were escorted to their lodgings by the young men who stopped
them, and even handed out of their chairs, with a polite attention far
beyond what was consistent with their dress, which was apparently that of
journeymen mechanics.*

* A near relation of the author's used to tell of having been stopped by
the rioters, and escorted home in the manner described. On reaching her
own home one of her attendants, in the appearance a _baxter_, a baker's
lad, handed her out of her chair, and took leave with a bow, which, in
the lady's opinion, argued breeding that could hardly be learned at the
oven's mouth.

It seemed as if the conspirators, like those who assassinated Cardinal
Beatoun in former days, had entertained the opinion, that the work about
which they went was a judgment of Heaven, which, though unsanctioned by
the usual authorities, ought to be proceeded in with order and gravity.

While their outposts continued thus vigilant, and suffered themselves
neither from fear nor curiosity to neglect that part of the duty assigned
to them, and while the main guards to the east and west secured them
against interruption, a select body of the rioters thundered at the door
of the jail, and demanded instant admission. No one answered, for the
outer keeper had prudently made his escape with the keys at the
commencement of the riot, and was nowhere to be found. The door was
instantly assailed with sledge-hammers, iron crows, and the coulters of
ploughs, ready provided for the purpose, with which they prized, heaved,
and battered for some time with little effect; for the door, besides
being of double oak planks, clenched, both endlong and athwart, with
broad-headed nails, was so hung and secured as to yield to no means of
forcing, without the expenditure of much time. The rioters, however,
appeared determined to gain admittance. Gang after gang relieved each
other at the exercise, for, of course, only a few could work at once; but
gang after gang retired, exhausted with their violent exertions, without
making much progress in forcing the prison door. Butler had been led up
near to this the principal scene of action; so near, indeed, that he was
almost deafened by the unceasing clang of the heavy fore-hammers against
the iron-bound portal of the prison. He began to entertain hopes, as the
task seemed protracted, that the populace might give it over in despair,
or that some rescue might arrive to disperse them. There was a moment at
which the latter seemed probable.

The magistrates, having assembled their officers, and some of the
citizens who were willing to hazard themselves for the public
tranquillity, now sallied forth from the tavern where they held their
sitting, and approached the point of danger. Their officers went before
them with links and torches, with a herald to read the riot-act, if
necessary. They easily drove before them the outposts and videttes of the
rioters; but when they approached the line of guard which the mob, or
rather, we should say, the conspirators, had drawn across the street in
the front of the Luckenbooths, they were received with an unintermitted
volley of stones, and, on their nearer approach, the pikes, bayonets, and
Lochaber-axes, of which the populace had possessed themselves, were
presented against them. One of their ordinary officers, a strong resolute
fellow, went forward, seized a rioter, and took from him a musket; but,
being unsupported, he was instantly thrown on his back in the street, and
disarmed in his turn. The officer was too happy to be permitted to rise
and run away without receiving any farther injury; which afforded another
remarkable instance of the mode in which these men had united a sort of
moderation towards all others, with the most inflexible inveteracy
against the object of their resentment. The magistrates, after vain
attempts to make themselves heard and obeyed, possessing no means of
enforcing their authority, were constrained to abandon the field to the
rioters, and retreat in all speed from the showers of missiles that
whistled around their ears.

The passive resistance of the Tolbooth gate promised to do more to baffle
the purpose of the mob than the active interference of the magistrates.
The heavy sledge-hammers continued to din against it without
intermission, and with a noise which, echoed from the lofty buildings
around the spot, seemed enough to have alarmed the garrison in the
Castle. It was circulated among the rioters, that the troops would march
down to disperse them, unless they could execute their purpose without
loss of time; or that, even without quitting the fortress, the garrison
might obtain the same end by throwing a bomb or two upon the street.

Urged by such motives for apprehension, they eagerly relieved each other
at the labour of assailing the Tolbooth door: yet such was its strength,
that it still defied their efforts. At length, a voice was heard to
pronounce the words, "Try it with fire." The rioters, with an unanimous
shout, called for combustibles, and as all their wishes seemed to be
instantly supplied, they were soon in possession of two or three empty
tar-barrels. A huge red glaring bonfire speedily arose close to the door
of the prison, sending up a tall column of smoke and flame against its
antique turrets and strongly-grated windows, and illuminating the
ferocious and wild gestures of the rioters, who surrounded the place, as
well as the pale and anxious groups of those, who, from windows in the
vicinage, watched the progress of this alarming scene. The mob fed the
fire with whatever they could find fit for the purpose. The flames roared
and crackled among the heaps of nourishment piled on the fire, and a
terrible shout soon announced that the door had kindled, and was in the
act of being destroyed. The fire was suffered to decay, but, long ere it
was quite extinguished, the most forward of the rioters rushed, in their
impatience, one after another, over its yet smouldering remains. Thick
showers of sparkles rose high in the air, as man after man bounded over
the glowing embers, and disturbed them in their passage. It was now
obvious to Butler, and all others who were present, that the rioters
would be instantly in possession of their victim, and have it in their
power to work their pleasure upon him, whatever that might be.*

* Note C. The Old Tolbooth.



CHAPTER SIXTH.


                         The evil you teach us,
          We will execute; and it shall go hard, but we will
                        Better the instruction.
                                               Merchant of Venice.

The unhappy object of this remarkable disturbance had been that day
delivered from the apprehension of public execution, and his joy was the
greater, as he had some reason to question whether Government would have
run the risk of unpopularity by interfering in his favour, after he had
been legally convicted by the verdict of a jury, of a crime so very
obnoxious. Relieved from this doubtful state of mind, his heart was merry
within him, and he thought, in the emphatic words of Scripture on a
similar occasion, that surely the bitterness of death was past. Some of
his friends, however, who had watched the manner and behaviour of the
crowd when they were made acquainted with the reprieve, were of a
different opinion. They augured, from the unusual sternness and silence
with which they bore their disappointment, that the populace nourished
some scheme of sudden and desperate vengeance; and they advised Porteous
to lose no time in petitioning the proper authorities, that he might be
conveyed to the Castle under a sufficient guard, to remain there in
security until his ultimate fate should be determined. Habituated,
however, by his office, to overawe the rabble of the city, Porteous could
not suspect them of an attempt so audacious as to storm a strong and
defensible prison; and, despising the advice by which he might have been
saved, he spent the afternoon of the eventful day in giving an
entertainment to some friends who visited him in jail, several of whom,
by the indulgence of the Captain of the Tolbooth, with whom he had an old
intimacy, arising from their official connection, were even permitted to
remain to supper with him, though contrary to the rules of the jail.

It was, therefore, in the hour of unalloyed mirth, when this unfortunate
wretch was "full of bread," hot with wine, and high in mistimed and
ill-grounded confidence, and alas! with all his sins full blown, when the
first distant' shouts of the rioters mingled with the song of merriment
and intemperance. The hurried call of the jailor to the guests, requiring
them instantly to depart, and his yet more hasty intimation that a
dreadful and determined mob had possessed themselves of the city gates
and guard-house, were the first explanation of these fearful clamours.

Porteous might, however, have eluded the fury from which the force of
authority could not protect him, had he thought of slipping on some
disguise, and leaving the prison along with his guests. It is probable
that the jailor might have connived at his escape, or even that in the
hurry of this alarming contingency, he might not have observed it. But
Porteous and his friends alike wanted presence of mind to suggest or
execute such a plan of escape. The former hastily fled from a place where
their own safety seemed compromised, and the latter, in a state
resembling stupefaction, awaited in his apartment the termination of the
enterprise of the rioters. The cessation of the clang of the instruments
with which they had at first attempted to force the door, gave him
momentary relief. The flattering hopes, that the military had marched
into the city, either from the Castle or from the suburbs, and that the
rioters were intimidated, and dispersing, were soon destroyed by the
broad and glaring light of the flames, which, illuminating through the
grated window every corner of his apartment, plainly showed that the mob,
determined on their fatal purpose, had adopted a means of forcing
entrance equally desperate and certain.

The sudden glare of light suggested to the stupified and astonished
object of popular hatred the possibility of concealment or escape. To
rush to the chimney, to ascend it at the risk of suffocation, were the
only means which seemed to have occurred to him; but his progress was
speedily stopped by one of those iron gratings, which are, for the sake
of security, usually placed across the vents of buildings designed for
imprisonment. The bars, however, which impeded his farther progress,
served to support him in the situation which he had gained, and he seized
them with the tenacious grasp of one who esteemed himself clinging to his
last hope of existence. The lurid light which had filled the apartment,
lowered and died away; the sound of shouts was heard within the walls,
and on the narrow and winding stair, which, eased within one of the
turrets, gave access to the upper apartments of the prison. The huzza of
the rioters was answered by a shout wild and desperate as their own, the
cry, namely, of the imprisoned felons, who, expecting to be liberated in
the general confusion, welcomed the mob as their deliverers. By some of
these the apartment of Porteous was pointed out to his enemies. The
obstacle of the lock and bolts was soon overcome, and from his hiding
place the unfortunate man heard his enemies search every corner of the
apartment, with oaths and maledictions, which would but shock the reader
if we recorded them, but which served to prove, could it have admitted of
doubt, the settled purpose of soul with which they sought his
destruction.

A place of concealment so obvious to suspicion and scrutiny as that which
Porteous had chosen, could not long screen him from detection. He was
dragged from his lurking-place, with a violence which seemed to argue an
intention to put him to death on the spot. More than one weapon was
directed towards him, when one of the rioters, the same whose female
disguise had been particularly noticed by Butler, interfered in an
authoritative tone. "Are ye mad?" he said, "or would ye execute an act of
justice as if it were a crime and a cruelty? This sacrifice will lose
half its savour if we do not offer it at the very horns of the altar. We
will have him die where a murderer should die, on the common gibbet--We
will have him die where he spilled the blood of so many innocents!"

A loud shout of applause followed the proposal, and the cry, "To the
gallows with the murderer!--to the Grassmarket with him!" echoed on all
hands.

"Let no man hurt him," continued the speaker; "let him make his peace
with God, if he can; we will not kill both his soul and body."

"What time did he give better folk for preparing their account?" answered
several voices. "Let us mete to him with the same measure he measured to
them."

But the opinion of the spokesman better suited the temper of those he
addressed, a temper rather stubborn than impetuous, sedate though
ferocious, and desirous of colouring their cruel and revengeful action
with a show of justice and moderation.

For an instant this man quitted the prisoner, whom he consigned to a
selected guard, with instructions to permit him to give his money and
property to whomsoever he pleased. A person confined in the jail for debt
received this last deposit from the trembling hand of the victim, who was
at the same time permitted to make some other brief arrangements to meet
his approaching fate. The felons, and all others who, wished to leave the
jail, were now at full liberty to do so; not that their liberation made
any part of the settled purpose of the rioters, but it followed as almost
a necessary consequence of forcing the jail doors. With wild cries of
jubilee they joined the mob, or disappeared among the narrow lanes to
seek out the hidden receptacles of vice and infamy, where they were
accustomed to lurk and conceal themselves from justice.

Two persons, a man about fifty years old and a girl about eighteen, were
all who continued within the fatal walls, excepting two or three debtors,
who probably saw no advantage in attempting their escape. The persons we
have mentioned remained in the strong room of the prison, now deserted by
all others. One of their late companions in misfortune called out to the
man to make his escape, in the tone of an acquaintance. "Rin for it,
Ratcliffe--the road's clear."

"It may be sae, Willie," answered Ratcliffe, composedly, "but I have taen
a fancy to leave aff trade, and set up for an honest man."

"Stay there, and be hanged, then, for a donnard auld deevil!" said the
other, and ran down the prison stair.

The person in female attire whom we have distinguished as one of the most
active rioters, was about the same time at the ear of the young woman.
"Flee, Effie, flee!" was all he had time to whisper. She turned towards
him an eye of mingled fear, affection, and upbraiding, all contending
with a sort of stupified surprise. He again repeated, "Flee, Effie, flee!
for the sake of all that's good and dear to you!" Again she gazed on him,
but was unable to answer. A loud noise was now heard, and the name of
Madge Wildfire was repeatedly called from the bottom of the staircase.

"I am coming,--I am coming," said the person who answered to that
appellative; and then reiterating hastily, "For God's sake--for your own
sake--for my sake, flee, or they'll take your life!" he left the strong
room.

The girl gazed after him for a moment, and then, faintly muttering,
"Better tyne life, since tint is gude fame," she sunk her head upon her
hand, and remained, seemingly, unconscious as a statue of the noise and
tumult which passed around her.

That tumult was now transferred from the inside to the outside of the
Tolbooth. The mob had brought their destined victim forth, and were about
to conduct him to the common place of execution, which they had fixed as
the scene of his death. The leader, whom they distinguished by the name
of Madge Wildfire, had been summoned to assist at the procession by the
impatient shouts of his confederates.

"I will insure you five hundred pounds," said the unhappy man, grasping
Wildfire's hand,--"five hundred pounds for to save my life."

The other answered in the same undertone, and returning his grasp with
one equally convulsive, "Five hundredweight of coined gold should not
save you.--Remember Wilson!"

A deep pause of a minute ensued, when Wildfire added, in a more composed
tone, "Make your peace with Heaven.--Where is the clergyman?"

Butler, who in great terror and anxiety, had been detained within a few
yards of the Tolbooth door, to wait the event of the search after
Porteous, was now brought forward, and commanded to walk by the
prisoner's side, and to prepare him for immediate death. His answer was a
supplication that the rioters would consider what they did. "You are
neither judges nor jury," said he. "You cannot have, by the laws of God
or man, power to take away the life of a human creature, however
deserving he may be of death. If it is murder even in a lawful magistrate
to execute an offender otherwise than in the place, time, and manner
which the judges' sentence prescribes, what must it be in you, who have
no warrant for interference but your own wills? In the name of Him who is
all mercy, show mercy to this unhappy man, and do not dip your hands in
his blood, nor rush into the very crime which you are desirous of
avenging!"

"Cut your sermon short--you are not in your pulpit," answered one of the
rioters.

"If we hear more of your clavers," said another, "we are like to hang you
up beside him."

"Peace--hush!" said Wildfire. "Do the good man no harm--he discharges his
conscience, and I like him the better."

He then addressed Butler. "Now, sir, we have patiently heard you, and we
just wish you to understand, in the way of answer, that you may as well
argue to the ashlar-work and iron stanchels of the Tolbooth as think to
change our purpose--Blood must have blood. We have sworn to each other by
the deepest oaths ever were pledged, that Porteous shall die the death he
deserves so richly; therefore, speak no more to us, but prepare him for
death as well as the briefness of his change will permit."

They had suffered the unfortunate Porteous to put on his night-gown and
slippers, as he had thrown off his coat and shoes, in order to facilitate
his attempted escape up the chimney. In this garb he was now mounted on
the hands of two of the rioters, clasped together, so as to form what is
called in Scotland, "The King's Cushion." Butler was placed close to his
side, and repeatedly urged to perform a duty always the most painful
which can be imposed on a clergyman deserving of the name, and now
rendered more so by the peculiar and horrid circumstances of the
criminal's case. Porteous at first uttered some supplications for mercy,
but when he found that there was no chance that these would be attended
to, his military education, and the natural stubbornness of his
disposition, combined to support his spirits.

"Are you prepared for this dreadful end?" said Butler, in a faltering
voice. "O turn to Him, in whose eyes time and space have no existence,
and to whom a few minutes are as a lifetime, and a lifetime as a minute."

"I believe I know what you would say," answered Porteous sullenly. "I was
bred a soldier; if they will murder me without time, let my sins as well
as my blood lie at their door."

"Who was it," said the stern voice of Wildfire, "that said to Wilson at
this very spot, when he could not pray, owing to the galling agony of his
fetters, that his pains would soon be over?--I say to you to take your
own tale home; and if you cannot profit by the good man's lessons, blame
not them that are still more merciful to you than you were to others."


[Illustration: The Porteous Mob--95]


The procession now moved forward with a slow and determined pace. It was
enlightened by many blazing, links and torches; for the actors of this
work were so far from affecting any secrecy on the occasion, that they
seemed even to court observation. Their principal leaders kept close to
the person of the prisoner, whose pallid yet stubborn features were seen
distinctly by the torch-light, as his person was raised considerably
above the concourse which thronged around him. Those who bore swords,
muskets, and battle-axes, marched on each side, as if forming a regular
guard to the procession. The windows, as they went along, were filled
with the inhabitants, whose slumbers had been broken by this unusual
disturbance. Some of the spectators muttered accents of encouragement;
but in general they were so much appalled by a sight so strange and
audacious, that they looked on with a sort of stupified astonishment. No
one offered, by act or word, the slightest interruption.

The rioters, on their part, continued to act with the same air of
deliberate confidence and security which had marked all their
proceedings. When the object of their resentment dropped one of his
slippers, they stopped, sought for it, and replaced it upon his foot with
great deliberation.*

* This little incident, characteristic of the extreme composure of this
extraordinary mob, was witnessed by a lady, who, disturbed like others
from her slumbers, had gone to the window. It was told to the Author by
the lady's daughter.

As they descended the Bow towards the fatal spot where they designed to
complete their purpose, it was suggested that there should be a rope kept
in readiness. For this purpose the booth of a man who dealt in cordage
was forced open, a coil of rope fit for their purpose was selected to
serve as a halter, and the dealer next morning found that a guinea had
been left on his counter in exchange; so anxious were the perpetrators of
this daring action to show that they meditated not the slightest wrong or
infraction of law, excepting so far as Porteous was himself concerned.

Leading, or carrying along with them, in this determined and regular
manner, the object of their vengeance, they at length reached the place
of common execution, the scene of his crime, and destined spot of his
sufferings. Several of the rioters (if they should not rather be
described as conspirators) endeavoured to remove the stone which filled
up the socket in which the end of the fatal tree was sunk when it was
erected for its fatal purpose; others sought for the means of
constructing a temporary gibbet, the place in which the gallows itself
was deposited being reported too secure to be forced, without much loss
of time. Butler endeavoured to avail himself of the delay afforded by
these circumstances, to turn the people from their desperate design. "For
God's sake," he exclaimed, "remember it is the image of your Creator
which you are about to deface in the person of this unfortunate man!
Wretched as he is, and wicked as he may be, he has a share in every
promise of Scripture, and you cannot destroy him in impenitence without
blotting his name from the Book of Life--Do not destroy soul and body;
give time for preparation."

"What time had they," returned a stern voice, "whom he murdered on this
very spot?--The laws both of God and man call for his death."

"But what, my friends," insisted Butler, with a generous disregard to his
own safety--"what hath constituted you his judges?"

"We are not his judges," replied the same person; "he has been already
judged and condemned by lawful authority. We are those whom Heaven, and
our righteous anger, have stirred up to execute judgment, when a corrupt
Government would have protected a murderer."

"I am none," said the unfortunate Porteous; "that which you charge upon
me fell out in self-defence, in the lawful exercise of my duty."

"Away with him--away with him!" was the general cry.

"Why do you trifle away time in making a gallows?--that dyester's pole is
good enough for the homicide."

The unhappy man was forced to his fate with remorseless rapidity. Butler,
separated from him by the press, escaped the last horrors of his
struggles. Unnoticed by those who had hitherto detained him as a
prisoner,--he fled from the fatal spot, without much caring in what
direction his course lay. A loud shout proclaimed the stern delight with
which the agents of this deed regarded its completion. Butler, then, at
the opening into the low street called the Cowgate, cast back a terrified
glance, and, by the red and dusky light of the torches, he could discern
a figure wavering and struggling as it hung suspended above the heads of
the multitude, and could even observe men striking at it with their
Lochaber-axes and partisans. The sight was of a nature to double his
horror, and to add wings to his flight.

The street down which the fugitive ran opens to one of the eastern ports
or gates of the city. Butler did not stop till he reached it, but found
it still shut. He waited nearly an hour, walking up and down in
inexpressible perturbation of mind. At length he ventured to call out,
and rouse the attention of the terrified keepers of the gate, who now
found themselves at liberty to resume their office without interruption.
Butler requested them to open the gate. They hesitated. He told them his
name and occupation.

"He is a preacher," said one; "I have heard him preach in Haddo's-hole."

"A fine preaching has he been at the night," said another "but maybe
least said is sunest mended."

Opening then the wicket of the main gate, the keepers suffered Butler to
depart, who hastened to carry his horror and fear beyond the walls of
Edinburgh. His first purpose was instantly to take the road homeward; but
other fears and cares, connected with the news he had learned in that
remarkable day, induced him to linger in the neighbourhood of Edinburgh
until daybreak. More than one group of persons passed him as he was
whiling away the hours of darkness that yet remained, whom, from the
stifled tones of their discourse, the unwonted hour when they travelled,
and the hasty pace at which they walked, he conjectured to have been
engaged in the late fatal transaction.

Certain it was, that the sudden and total dispersion of the rioters, when
their vindictive purpose was accomplished, seemed not the least
remarkable feature of this singular affair. In general, whatever may be
the impelling motive by which a mob is at first raised, the attainment of
their object has usually been only found to lead the way to farther
excesses. But not so in the present case. They seemed completely satiated
with the vengeance they had prosecuted with such stanch and sagacious
activity. When they were fully satisfied that life had abandoned their
victim, they dispersed in every direction, throwing down the weapons
which they had only assumed to enable them to carry through their
purpose. At daybreak there remained not the least token of the events of
the night, excepting the corpse of Porteous, which still hung suspended
in the place where he had suffered, and the arms of various kinds which
the rioters had taken from the city guard-house, which were found
scattered about the streets as they had thrown them from their hands when
the purpose for which they had seized them was accomplished.

The ordinary magistrates of the city resumed their power, not without
trembling at the late experience of the fragility of its tenure. To march
troops into the city, and commence a severe inquiry into the transactions
of the preceding night, were the first marks of returning energy which
they displayed. But these events had been conducted on so secure and
well-calculated a plan of safety and secrecy, that there was little or
nothing learned to throw light upon the authors or principal actors in a
scheme so audacious. An express was despatched to London with the
tidings, where they excited great indignation and surprise in the council
of regency, and particularly in the bosom of Queen Caroline, who
considered her own authority as exposed to contempt by the success of
this singular conspiracy. Nothing was spoke of for some time save the
measure of vengeance which should be taken, not only on the actors of
this tragedy, so soon as they should be discovered, but upon the
magistrates who had suffered it to take place, and upon the city which
had been the scene where it was exhibited. On this occasion, it is still
recorded in popular tradition, that her Majesty, in the height of her
displeasure, told the celebrated John Duke of Argyle, that, sooner than
submit to such an insult, she would make Scotland a hunting-field. "In
that case, Madam," answered that high-spirited nobleman, with a profound
bow, "I will take leave of your Majesty, and go down to my own country to
get my hounds ready."

The import of the reply had more than met the ear; and as most of the
Scottish nobility and gentry seemed actuated by the same national spirit,
the royal displeasure was necessarily checked in mid-volley, and milder
courses were recommended and adopted, to some of which we may hereafter
have occasion to advert.*

* Note D. Memorial concerning the murder of Captain Porteous.



CHAPTER SEVENTH


                    Arthur's Seat shall be my bed,
                    The sheets shall ne'er be pressed by me,
                    St. Anton's well shall be my drink,
                    Sin' my true-love's forsaken me.
                                               Old Song.

If I were to choose a spot from which the rising or setting sun could be
seen to the greatest possible advantage, it would be that wild path
winding around the foot of the high belt of semicircular rocks, called
Salisbury Crags, and marking the verge of the steep descent which slopes
down into the glen on the south-eastern side of the city of Edinburgh.
The prospect, in its general outline, commands a close-built, high-piled
city, stretching itself out beneath in a form, which, to a romantic
imagination, may be supposed to represent that of a dragon; now, a noble
arm of the sea, with its rocks, isles, distant shores, and boundary of
mountains; and now, a fair and fertile champaign country, varied with
hill, dale, and rock, and skirted by the picturesque ridge of the
Pentland mountains. But as the path gently circles around the base of the
cliffs, the prospect, composed as it is of these enchanting and sublime
objects, changes at every step, and presents them blended with, or
divided from, each other, in every possible variety which can gratify the
eye and the imagination. When a piece of scenery so beautiful, yet so
varied,--so exciting by its intricacy, and yet so sublime,--is lighted up
by the tints of morning or of evening, and displays all that variety of
shadowy depth, exchanged with partial brilliancy, which gives character
even to the tamest of landscapes, the effect approaches near to
enchantment. This path used to be my favourite evening and morning
resort, when engaged with a favourite author, or new subject of study. It
is, I am informed, now become totally impassable; a circumstance which,
if true, reflects little credit on the taste of the Good Town or its
leaders.*

* A beautiful and solid pathway has, within a few years, been formed
around these romantic rocks; and the Author has the pleasure to think,
that the passage in the text gave rise to the undertaking.

 It was from this fascinating path--the scene to me of so much delicious
musing, when life was young and promised to be happy, that I have been
unable to pass it over without an episodical description--it was, I say,
from this romantic path that Butler saw the morning arise the day after
the murder of Porteous. It was possible for him with ease to have found a
much shorter road to the house to which he was directing his course, and,
in fact, that which he chose was extremely circuitous. But to compose his
own spirits, as well as to while away the time, until a proper hour for
visiting the family without surprise or disturbance, he was induced to
extend his circuit by the foot of the rocks, and to linger upon his way
until the morning should be considerably advanced. While, now standing
with his arms across, and waiting the slow progress of the sun above the
horizon, now sitting upon one of the numerous fragments which storms had
detached from the rocks above him, he is meditating, alternately upon the
horrible catastrophe which he had witnessed, and upon the melancholy, and
to him most interesting, news which he had learned at Saddletree's, we
will give the reader to understand who Butler was, and how his fate was
connected with that of Effie Deans, the unfortunate handmaiden of the
careful Mrs. Saddletree.

Reuben Butler was of English extraction, though born in Scotland. His
grandfather was a trooper in Monk's army, and one of the party of
dismounted dragoons which formed the forlorn hope at the storming of
Dundee in 1651. Stephen Butler (called from his talents in reading and
expounding, Scripture Stephen, and Bible Butler) was a stanch
Independent, and received in its fullest comprehension the promise that
the saints should inherit the earth. As hard knocks were what had chiefly
fallen to his share hitherto in the division of this common property, he
lost not the opportunity which the storm and plunder of a commercial
place afforded him, to appropriate as large a share of the better things
of this world as he could possibly compass. It would seem that he had
succeeded indifferently well, for his exterior circumstances appeared, in
consequence of this event, to have been much mended.

The troop to which he belonged was quartered at the village of Dalkeith,
as forming the bodyguard of Monk, who, in the capacity of general for the
Commonwealth, resided in the neighbouring castle. When, on the eve of the
Restoration, the general commenced his march from Scotland, a measure
pregnant with such important consequences, he new-modelled his troops,
and more especially those immediately about his person, in order that
they might consist entirely of individuals devoted to himself. On this
occasion Scripture Stephen was weighed in the balance, and found wanting.
It was supposed he felt no call to any expedition which might endanger
the reign of the military sainthood, and that he did not consider himself
as free in conscience to join with any party which might be likely
ultimately to acknowledge the interest of Charles Stuart, the son of "the
last man," as Charles I. was familiarly and irreverently termed by them
in their common discourse, as well as in their more elaborate
predications and harangues. As the time did not admit of cashiering such
dissidents, Stephen Butler was only advised in a friendly way to give up
his horse and accoutrements to one of Middleton's old troopers who
possessed an accommodating conscience of a military stamp, and which
squared itself chiefly upon those of the colonel and paymaster. As this
hint came recommended by a certain sum of arrears presently payable,
Stephen had carnal wisdom enough to embrace the proposal, and with great
indifference saw his old corps depart for Coldstream, on their route for
the south, to establish the tottering Government of England on a new
basis.

The _zone_ of the ex-trooper, to use Horace's phrase, was weighty enough
to purchase a cottage and two or three fields (still known by the name of
Beersheba), within about a Scottish mile of Dalkeith; and there did
Stephen establish himself with a youthful helpmate, chosen out of the
said village, whose disposition to a comfortable settlement on this side
of the grave reconciled her to the gruff manners, serious temper, and
weather-beaten features of the martial enthusiast. Stephen did not long
survive the falling on "evil days and evil tongues," of which Milton, in
the same predicament, so mournfully complains. At his death his consort
remained an early widow, with a male child of three years old, which, in
the sobriety wherewith it demeaned itself, in the old-fashioned and even
grim cast of its features, and in its sententious mode of expressing
itself, would sufficiently have vindicated the honour of the widow of
Beersheba, had any one thought proper to challenge the babe's descent
from Bible Butler.

Butler's principles had not descended to his family, or extended
themselves among his neighbours. The air of Scotland was alien to the
growth of independency, however favourable to fanaticism under other
colours. But, nevertheless, they were not forgotten; and a certain
neighbouring Laird, who piqued himself upon the loyalty of his principles
"in the worst of times" (though I never heard they exposed him to more
peril than that of a broken head, or a night's lodging in the main guard,
when wine and cavalierism predominated in his upper storey), had found it
a convenient thing to rake up all matter of accusation against the
deceased Stephen. In this enumeration his religious principles made no
small figure, as, indeed, they must have seemed of the most exaggerated
enormity to one whose own were so small and so faintly traced, as to be
well nigh imperceptible. In these circumstances, poor widow Butler was
supplied with her full proportion of fines for nonconformity, and all the
other oppressions of the time, until Beersheba was fairly wrenched out of
her hands, and became the property of the Laird who had so wantonly, as
it had hitherto appeared, persecuted this poor forlorn woman. When his
purpose was fairly achieved, he showed some remorse or moderation, of
whatever the reader may please to term it, in permitting her to occupy
her husband's cottage, and cultivate, on no very heavy terms, a croft of
land adjacent. Her son, Benjamin, in the meanwhile, grew up to mass
estate, and, moved by that impulse which makes men seek marriage, even
when its end can only be the perpetuation of misery, he wedded and
brought a wife, and, eventually, a son, Reuben, to share the poverty of
Beersheba.

The Laird of Dumbiedikes* had hitherto been moderate in his exactions,
perhaps because he was ashamed to tax too highly the miserable means of
support which remained to the widow Butler.

* Dumbiedikes, selected as descriptive of the taciturn character of the
imaginary owner, is really the name of a house bordering on the King's
Park, so called because the late Mr. Braidwood, an instructor of the deaf
and dumb, resided there with his pupils. The situation of the real house
is different from that assigned to the ideal mansion.

But when a stout active young fellow appeared as the labourer of the
croft in question, Dumbiedikes began to think so broad a pair of
shoulders might bear an additional burden. He regulated, indeed, his
management of his dependants (who fortunately were but few in number)
much upon the principle of the carters whom he observed loading their
carts at a neighbouring coal-hill, and who never failed to clap an
additional brace of hundredweights on their burden, so soon as by any
means they had compassed a new horse of somewhat superior strength to
that which had broken down the day before. However reasonable this
practice appeared to the Laird of Dumbiedikes, he ought to have observed,
that it may be overdone, and that it infers, as a matter of course, the
destruction and loss of both horse, and cart, and loading. Even so it
befell when the additional "prestations" came to be demanded of Benjamin
Butler. A man of few words, and few ideas, but attached to Beersheba with
a feeling like that which a vegetable entertains to the spot in which it
chances to be planted, he neither remonstrated with the Laird, nor
endeavoured to escape from him, but, toiling night and day to accomplish
the terms of his taskmaster, fell into a burning fever and died. His wife
did not long survive him; and, as if it had been the fate of this family
to be left orphans, our Reuben Butler was, about the year 1704-5, left in
the same circumstances in which his father had been placed, and under the
same guardianship, being that of his grandmother, the widow of Monk's old
trooper.

The same prospect of misery hung over the head of another tenant of this
hardhearted lord of the soil. This was a tough true-blue Presbyterian,
called Deans, who, though most obnoxious to the Laird on account of
principles in church and state, contrived to maintain his ground upon the
estate by regular payment of mail-duties, kain, arriage, carriage, dry
multure, lock, gowpen, and knaveship, and all the various exactions now
commuted for money, and summed up in the emphatic word rent. But the
years 1700 and 1701, long remembered in Scotland for dearth and general
distress, subdued the stout heart of the agricultural whig. Citations by
the ground-officer, decreets of the Baron Court, sequestrations,
poindings of outside and inside plenishing, flew about his ears as fast
as the tory bullets whistled around those of the Covenanters at Pentland,
Bothwell Brigg, or Airsmoss. Struggle as he might, and he struggled
gallantly, "Douce David Deans" was routed horse and foot, and lay at the
mercy of his grasping landlord just at the time that Benjamin Butler
died. The fate of each family was anticipated; but they who prophesied
their expulsion to beggary and ruin were disappointed by an accidental
circumstance.

On the very term-day when their ejection should have taken place, when
all their neighbours were prepared to pity, and not one to assist them,
the minister of the parish, as well as a doctor from Edinburgh, received
a hasty summons to attend the Laird of Dumbiedikes. Both were surprised,
for his contempt for both faculties had been pretty commonly his theme
over an extra bottle, that is to say, at least once every day. The leech
for the soul, and he for the body, alighted in the court of the little
old manor-house at almost the same time; and when they had gazed a moment
at each other with some surprise, they in the same breath expressed their
conviction that Dumbiedikes must needs be very ill indeed, since he
summoned them both to his presence at once. Ere the servant could usher
them to his apartment, the party was augmented by a man of law, Nichil
Novit, writing himself procurator before the sheriff-court, for in those
days there were no solicitors. This latter personage was first summoned
to the apartment of the Laird, where, after some short space, the
soul-curer and the body-curer were invited to join him.

Dumbiedikes had been by this time transported into the best bedroom, used
only upon occasions of death and marriage, and called, from the former of
these occupations, the Dead-Room. There were in this apartment, besides
the sick person himself and Mr. Novit, the son and heir of the patient, a
tall gawky silly-looking boy of fourteen or fifteen, and a housekeeper, a
good buxom figure of a woman, betwixt forty and fifty, who had kept the
keys and managed matters at Dumbiedikes since the lady's death. It was to
these attendants that Dumbiedikes addressed himself pretty nearly in the
following words; temporal and spiritual matters, the care of his health
and his affairs, being strangely jumbled in a head which was never one of
the clearest.

"These are sair times wi' me, gentlemen and neighbours! amaist as ill as
at the aughty-nine, when I was rabbled by the collegeaners.*

* Immediately previous to the Revolution, the students at the Edinburgh
College were violent anti-catholics. They were strongly suspected of
burning the house of Prestonfield, belonging to Sir James Dick, the Lord
Provost; and certainly were guilty of creating considerable riots in
1688-9.

--They mistook me muckle--they ca'd me a papist, but there was never a
papist bit about me, minister.--Jock, ye'll take warning--it's a debt we
maun a' pay, and there stands Nichil Novit that will tell ye I was never
gude at paying debts in my life.--Mr. Novit, ye'll no forget to draw the
annual rent that's due on the yerl's band--if I pay debt to other folk, I
think they suld pay it to me--that equals aquals.--Jock, when ye hae
naething else to do, ye may be aye sticking in a tree; it will be
growing, Jock, when ye're sleeping.*

* The Author has been flattered by the assurance, that this _naive_ mode
of recommending arboriculture (which was actually delivered in these very
words by a Highland laird, while on his death-bed, to his son) had so
much weight with a Scottish earl as to lead to his planting a large tract
of country.

"My father tauld me sae forty years sin', but I ne'er fand time to mind
him--Jock, ne'er drink brandy in the morning, it files the stamach sair;
gin ye take a morning's draught, let it be aqua mirabilis; Jenny there
makes it weel--Doctor, my breath is growing as scant as a broken-winded
piper's, when he has played for four-and-twenty hours at a penny
wedding--Jenny, pit the cod aneath my head--but it's a' needless!--Mass
John, could ye think o' rattling ower some bit short prayer, it wad do
me gude maybe, and keep some queer thoughts out o' my head, Say
something, man."

"I cannot use a prayer like a rat-rhyme," answered the honest clergyman;
"and if you would have your soul redeemed like a prey from the fowler,
Laird, you must needs show me your state of mind."

"And shouldna ye ken that without my telling you?" answered the patient.
"What have I been paying stipend and teind, parsonage and vicarage, for,
ever sin' the aughty-nine, and I canna get a spell of a prayer for't, the
only time I ever asked for ane in my life?--Gang awa wi' your whiggery,
if that's a' ye can do; auld Curate Kilstoup wad hae read half the
prayer-book to me by this time--Awa wi' ye!--Doctor, let's see if ye can
do onything better for me."

The doctor, who had obtained some information in the meanwhile from the
housekeeper on the state of his complaints, assured him the medical art
could not prolong his life many hours.

"Then damn Mass John and you baith!" cried the furious and intractable
patient. "Did ye come here for naething but to tell me that ye canna help
me at the pinch? Out wi' them, Jenny--out o' the house! and, Jock, my
curse, and the curse of Cromwell, go wi' ye, if ye gie them either fee or
bountith, or sae muckle as a black pair o' cheverons!"*

*_Cheverons_--gloves.

The clergyman and doctor made a speedy retreat out of the apartment,
while Dumbiedikes fell into one of those transports of violent and
profane language, which had procured him the surname of Damn-me-dikes.
"Bring me the brandy bottle, Jenny, ye b--," he cried, with a voice in
which passion contended with pain. "I can die as I have lived, without
fashing ony o' them. But there's ae thing," he said, sinking his
voice--"there's ae fearful thing hings about my heart, and an anker of
brandy winna wash it away.--The Deanses at Woodend!--I sequestrated them
in the dear years, and now they are to flit, they'll starve--and that
Beersheba, and that auld trooper's wife and her oe, they'll
starve--they'll starve! --Look out, Jock; what kind o' night is't?"

"On-ding o' snaw, father," answered Jock, after having opened the window,
and looked out with great composure.

"They'll perish in the drifts!" said the expiring sinner--"they'll perish
wi' cauld!--but I'll be het eneugh, gin a' tales be true."

This last observation was made under breath, and in a tone which made the
very attorney shudder. He tried his hand at ghostly advice, probably for
the first time in his life, and recommended as an opiate for the agonised
conscience of the Laird, reparation of the injuries he had done to these
distressed families, which, he observed by the way, the civil law called
_restitutio in integrum._ But Mammon was struggling with Remorse for
retaining his place in a bosom he had so long possessed; and he partly
succeeded, as an old tyrant proves often too strong for his insurgent
rebels.

"I canna do't," he answered, with a voice of despair. "It would kill me
to do't--how can ye bid me pay back siller, when ye ken how I want it? or
dispone Beersheba, when it lies sae weel into my ain plaid-nuik? Nature
made Dumbiedikes and Beersheba to be ae man's land--She did, by Nichil,
it wad kill me to part them."

"But ye maun die whether or no, Laird," said Mr. Novit; "and maybe ye wad
die easier--it's but trying. I'll scroll the disposition in nae time."

"Dinna speak o't, sir," replied Dumbiedikes, "or I'll fling the stoup at
your head.--But, Jock, lad, ye see how the warld warstles wi' me on my
deathbed--be kind to the puir creatures, the Deanses and the Butlers--be
kind to them, Jock. Dinna let the warld get a grip o' ye, Jock--but keep
the gear thegither! and whate'er ye do, dispone Beersheba at no rate. Let
the creatures stay at a moderate mailing, and hae bite and soup; it will
maybe be the better wi' your father whare he's gaun, lad."

After these contradictory instructions, the Laird felt his mind so much
at ease, that he drank three bumpers of brandy continuously, and "soughed
awa," as Jenny expressed it, in an attempt to sing "Deil stick the
Minister."

His death made a revolution in favour of the distressed families. John
Dumbie, now of Dumbiedikes, in his own right, seemed to be close and
selfish enough, but wanted the grasping spirit and active mind of his
father; and his guardian happened to agree with him in opinion, that his
father's dying recommendation should be attended to. The tenants,
therefore, were not actually turned out of doors among the snow-wreaths,
and were allowed wherewith to procure butter-milk and peas-bannocks,
which they ate under the full force of the original malediction. The
cottage of Deans, called Woodend, was not very distant from that at
Beersheba. Formerly there had been but little intercourse between the
families. Deans was a sturdy Scotsman, with all sort of prejudices
against the southern, and the spawn of the southern. Moreover, Deans was,
as we have said, a stanch Presbyterian, of the most rigid and unbending
adherence to what he conceived to be the only possible straight line, as
he was wont to express himself, between right-hand heats and extremes and
left-hand defections; and, therefore, he held in high dread and horror
all Independents, and whomsoever he supposed allied to them.

But, notwithstanding these national prejudices and religious professions,
Deans and the widow Butler were placed in such a situation, as naturally
and at length created some intimacy between the families. They had shared
a common danger and a mutual deliverance. They needed each other's
assistance, like a company, who, crossing a mountain stream, are
compelled to cling close together, lest the current should be too
powerful for any who are not thus supported.

On nearer acquaintance, too, Deans abated some of his prejudices. He
found old Mrs. Butler, though not thoroughly grounded in the extent and
bearing of the real testimony against the defections of the times, had no
opinions in favour of the Independent party; neither was she an
Englishwoman. Therefore, it was to be hoped, that, though she was the
widow of an enthusiastic corporal of Cromwell's dragoons, her grandson
might be neither schismatic nor anti-national, two qualities concerning
which Goodman Deans had as wholesome a terror as against papists and
malignants, Above all (for Douce Davie Deans had his weak side), he
perceived that widow Butler looked up to him with reverence, listened to
his advice, and compounded for an occasional fling at the doctrines of
her deceased husbands to which, as we have seen, she was by no means
warmly attached, in consideration of the valuable counsels which the
Presbyterian afforded her for the management of her little farm. These
usually concluded with "they may do otherwise in England, neighbour
Butler, for aught I ken;" or, "it may be different in foreign parts;" or,
"they wha think differently on the great foundation of our covenanted
reformation, overturning and mishguggling the government and discipline
of the kirk, and breaking down the carved work of our Zion, might be for
sawing the craft wi' aits; but I say peace, peace." And as his advice was
shrewd and sensible, though conceitedly given, it was received with
gratitude, and followed with respect.

The intercourse which took place betwixt the families at Beersheba and
Woodend became strict and intimate, at a very early period, betwixt
Reuben Butler, with whom the reader is already in some degree acquainted,
and Jeanie Deans, the only child of Douce Davie Deans by his first wife,
"that singular Christian woman," as he was wont to express himself,
"whose name was savoury to all that knew her for a desirable professor,
Christian Menzies in Hochmagirdle." The manner of which intimacy, and the
consequences thereof, we now proceed to relate.



CHAPTER EIGHTH.


              Reuben and Rachel, though as fond as doves,
              Were yet discreet and cautious in their loves,
              Nor would attend to Cupid's wild commands,
              Till cool reflection bade them join their hands;
              When both were poor, they thought it argued ill
                Of hasty love to make them poorer still.
                                      Crabbe's _Parish Register._

While widow Butler and widower Deans struggled with poverty, and the hard
and sterile soil of "those parts and portions" of the lands of
Dumbiedikes which it was their lot to occupy, it became gradually
apparent that Deans was to gain the strife, and his ally in the conflict
was to lose it. The former was a Man, and not much past the prime of
life--Mrs. Butler a woman, and declined into the vale of years, This,
indeed, ought in time to have been balanced by the circumstance, that
Reuben was growing up to assist his grandmothers labours, and that Jeanie
Deans, as a girl, could be only supposed to add to her father's burdens.
But Douce Davie Deans know better things, and so schooled and trained the
young minion, as he called her, that from the time she could walk,
upwards, she was daily employed in some task or other, suitable to her
age and capacity; a circumstance which, added to her father's daily
instructions and lectures, tended to give her mind, even when a child, a
grave, serious, firm, and reflecting cast. An uncommonly strong and
healthy temperament, free from all nervous affection and every other
irregularity, which, attacking the body in its more noble functions, so
often influences the mind, tended greatly to establish this fortitude,
simplicity, and decision of character.

On the other hand, Reuben was weak in constitution, and, though not timid
in temper might be safely pronounced anxious, doubtful, and apprehensive.
He partook of the temperament of his mother, who had died of a
consumption in early age. He was a pale, thin, feeble, sickly boy, and
somewhat lame, from an accident in early youth. He was, besides, the
child of a doting grandmother, whose too solicitous attention to him soon
taught him a sort of diffidence in himself, with a disposition to
overrate his own importance, which is one of the very worst consequences
that children deduce from over-indulgence.

Still, however, the two children clung to each other's society, not more
from habit than from taste. They herded together the handful of sheep,
with the two or three cows, which their parents turned out rather to seek
food than actually to feed upon the unenclosed common of Dumbiedikes. It
was there that the two urchins might be seen seated beneath a blooming
bush of whin, their little faces laid close together under the shadow of
the same plaid drawn over both their heads, while the landscape around
was embrowned by an overshadowing cloud, big with the shower which had
driven the children to shelter. On other occasions they went together to
school, the boy receiving that encouragement and example from his
companion, in crossing the little brooks which intersected their path,
and encountering cattle, dogs, and other perils, upon their journey,
which the male sex in such cases usually consider it as their prerogative
to extend to the weaker. But when, seated on the benches of the
school-house, they began to con their lessons together, Reuben, who was
as much superior to Jeanie Deans in acuteness of intellect, as inferior
to her in firmness of constitution, and in that insensibility to fatigue
and danger which depends on the conformation of the nerves, was able
fully to requite the kindness and countenance with which, in other
circumstances, she used to regard him. He was decidedly the best scholar
at the little parish school; and so gentle was his temper and
disposition, that he was rather admired than envied by the little mob who
occupied the noisy mansion, although he was the declared favourite of the
master. Several girls, in particular (for in Scotland they are taught
with the boys), longed to be kind to and comfort the sickly lad, who was
so much cleverer than his companions. The character of Reuben Butler was
so calculated as to offer scope both for their sympathy and their
admiration, the feelings, perhaps, through which the female sex (the more
deserving part of them at least) is more easily attached.

But Reuben, naturally reserved and distant, improved none of these
advantages; and only became more attached to Jeanie Deans, as the
enthusiastic approbation of his master assured him of fair prospects in
future life, and awakened his ambition. In the meantime, every advance
that Reuben made in learning (and, considering his opportunities, they
were uncommonly great) rendered him less capable of attending to the
domestic duties of his grandmother's farm. While studying the _pons
asinorum_ in Euclid, he suffered every _cuddie_ upon the common to
trespass upon a large field of peas belonging to the Laird, and nothing
but the active exertions of Jeanie Deans, with her little dog Dustiefoot,
could have saved great loss and consequent punishment. Similar
miscarriages marked his progress in his classical studies. He read
Virgil's Georgics till he did not know bere from barley; and had nearly
destroyed the crofts of Beersheba while attempting to cultivate them
according to the practice of Columella and Cato the Censor.

These blunders occasioned grief to his grand-dame, and disconcerted the
good opinion which her neighbour, Davie Deans, had for some time
entertained of Reuben.

"I see naething ye can make of that silly callant, neighbour Butler,"
said he to the old lady, "unless ye train him to the wark o' the
ministry. And ne'er was there mair need of poorfu' preachers than e'en
now in these cauld Gallio days, when men's hearts are hardened like the
nether mill-stone, till they come to regard none of these things. It's
evident this puir callant of yours will never be able to do an usefu'
day's wark, unless it be as an ambassador from our Master; and I will
make it my business to procure a license when he is fit for the same,
trusting he will be a shaft cleanly polished, and meet to be used in the
body of the kirk; and that he shall not turn again, like the sow, to
wallow in the mire of heretical extremes and defections, but shall have
the wings of a dove, though he hath lain among the pots."

The poor widow gulped down the affront to her husband's principles,
implied in this caution, and hastened to take Butler from the High
School, and encourage him in the pursuit of mathematics and divinity, the
only physics and ethics that chanced to be in fashion at the time.

Jeanie Deans was now compelled to part from the companion of her labour,
her study, and her pastime, and it was with more than childish feeling
that both children regarded the separation. But they were young, and hope
was high, and they separated like those who hope to meet again at a more
auspicious hour. While Reuben Butler was acquiring at the University of
St. Andrews the knowledge necessary for a clergyman, and macerating his
body with the privations which were necessary in seeking food for his
mind, his grand-dame became daily less able to struggle with her little
farm, and was at length obliged to throw it up to the new Laird of
Dumbiedikes. That great personage was no absolute Jew, and did not cheat
her in making the bargain more than was tolerable. He even gave her
permission to tenant the house in which she had lived with her husband,
as long as it should be "tenantable;" only he protested against paying
for a farthing of repairs, any benevolence which he possessed being of
the passive, but by no means of the active mood.

In the meanwhile, from superior shrewdness, skill, and other
circumstances, some of them purely accidental, Davie Deans gained a
footing in the world, the possession of some wealth, the reputation of
more, and a growing disposition to preserve and increase his store; for
which, when he thought upon it seriously, he was inclined to blame
himself. From his knowledge in agriculture, as it was then practised, he
became a sort of favourite with the Laird, who had no great pleasure
either in active sports or in society, and was wont to end his daily
saunter by calling at the cottage of Woodend.

Being himself a man of slow ideas and confused utterance, Dumbiedikes
used to sit or stand for half-an-hour with an old laced hat of his
father's upon his head, and an empty tobacco-pipe in his mouth, with his
eyes following Jeanie Deans, or "the lassie" as he called her, through
the course of her daily domestic labour; while her father, after
exhausting the subject of bestial, of ploughs, and of harrows, often took
an opportunity of going full-sail into controversial subjects, to which
discussions the dignitary listened with much seeming patience, but
without making any reply, or, indeed, as most people thought, without
understanding a single word of what the orator was saying. Deans, indeed,
denied this stoutly, as an insult at once to his own talents for
expounding hidden truths, of which he was a little vain, and to the
Laird's capacity of understanding them. He said, "Dumbiedikes was nane of
these flashy gentles, wi' lace on their skirts and swords at their tails,
that were rather for riding on horseback to hell than gauging barefooted
to heaven. He wasna like his father--nae profane company-keeper--nae
swearer--nae drinker--nae frequenter of play-house, or music-house, or
dancing-house--nae Sabbath-breaker--nae imposer of aiths, or bonds, or
denier of liberty to the flock.--He clave to the warld, and the warld's
gear, a wee ower muckle, but then there was some breathing of a gale upon
his spirit," etc. etc. All this honest Davie said and believed.

It is not to be supposed, that, by a father and a man of sense and
observation, the constant direction of the Laird's eyes towards Jeanie
was altogether unnoticed. This circumstance, however, made a much greater
impression upon another member of his family, a second helpmate, to wit,
whom he had chosen to take to his bosom ten years after the death of his
first. Some people were of opinion, that Douce Davie had been rather
surprised into this step, for, in general, he was no friend to marriages
or giving in marriage, and seemed rather to regard that state of society
as a necessary evil,--a thing lawful, and to be tolerated in the
imperfect state of our nature, but which clipped the wings with which we
ought to soar upwards, and tethered the soul to its mansion of clay, and
the creature-comforts of wife and bairns. His own practice, however, had
in this material point varied from his principles, since, as we have
seen, he twice knitted for himself this dangerous and ensnaring
entanglement.

Rebecca, his spouse, had by no means the same horror of matrimony, and as
she made marriages in imagination for every neighbour round, she failed
not to indicate a match betwixt Dumbiedikes and her step-daughter Jeanie.
The goodman used regularly to frown and pshaw whenever this topic was
touched upon, but usually ended by taking his bonnet and walking out of
the house, to conceal a certain gleam of satisfaction, which, at such a
suggestion, involuntarily diffused itself over his austere features.

The more youthful part of my readers may naturally ask, whether Jeanie
Deans was deserving of this mute attention of the Laird of Dumbiedikes;
and the historian, with due regard to veracity, is compelled to answer,
that her personal attractions were of no uncommon description. She was
short, and rather too stoutly made for her size, had grey eyes, light
coloured hair, a round good-humoured face, much tanned with the sun, and
her only peculiar charm was an air of inexpressible serenity, which a
good conscience, kind feelings, contented temper, and the regular
discharge of all her duties, spread over her features. There was nothing,
it may be supposed, very appalling in the form or manners of this rustic
heroine; yet, whether from sheepish bashfulness, or from want of decision
and imperfect knowledge of his own mind on the subject, the Laird of
Dumbiedikes, with his old laced hat and empty tobacco-pipe, came and
enjoyed the beatific vision of Jeanie Deans day after day, week after
week, year after year, without proposing to accomplish any of the
prophecies of the stepmother.

This good lady began to grow doubly impatient on the subject, when, after
having been some years married, she herself presented Douce Davie with
another daughter, who was named Euphemia, by corruption, Effie. It was
then that Rebecca began to turn impatient with the slow pace at which the
Laird's wooing proceeded, judiciously arguing, that, as Lady Dumbiedikes
would have but little occasion for tocher, the principal part of her
gudeman's substance would naturally descend to the child by the second
marriage. Other step-dames have tried less laudable means for clearing
the way to the succession of their own children; but Rebecca, to do her
justice, only sought little Effie's advantage through the promotion, or
which must have generally been accounted such, of her elder sister. She
therefore tried every female art within the compass of her simple skill,
to bring the Laird to a point; but had the mortification to perceive that
her efforts, like those of an unskilful angler, only scared the trout she
meant to catch. Upon one occasion, in particular, when she joked with the
Laird on the propriety of giving a mistress to the house of Dumbiedikes,
he was so effectually startled, that neither laced hat, tobacco-pipe, nor
the intelligent proprietor of these movables, visited Woodend for a
fortnight. Rebecca was therefore compelled to leave the Laird to proceed
at his own snail's pace, convinced, by experience, of the grave-digger's
aphorism, that your dull ass will not mend his pace for beating.

Reuben, in the meantime, pursued his studies at the university, supplying
his wants by teaching the younger lads the knowledge he himself acquired,
and thus at once gaining the means of maintaining himself at the seat of
learning, and fixing in his mind the elements of what he had already
obtained. In this manner, as is usual among the poorer students of
divinity at Scottish universities, he contrived not only to maintain
himself according to his simple wants, but even to send considerable
assistance to his sole remaining parent, a sacred duty, of which the
Scotch are seldom negligent. His progress in knowledge of a general kind,
as well as in the studies proper to his profession, was very
considerable, but was little remarked, owing to the retired modesty of
his disposition, which in no respect qualified him to set off his
learning to the best advantage. And thus, had Butler been a man given to
make complaints, he had his tale to tell, like others, of unjust
preferences, bad luck, and hard usage. On these subjects, however, he was
habitually silent, perhaps from modesty, perhaps from a touch of pride,
or perhaps from a conjunction of both.

He obtained his license as a preacher of the gospel, with some
compliments from the Presbytery by whom it was bestowed; but this did not
lead to any preferment, and he found it necessary to make the cottage at
Beersheba his residence for some months, with no other income than was
afforded by the precarious occupation of teaching in one or other of the
neighbouring families. After having greeted his aged grandmother, his
first visit was to Woodend, where he was received by Jeanie with warm
cordiality, arising from recollections which had never been dismissed
from her mind, by Rebecca with good-humoured hospitality, and by old
Deans in a mode peculiar to himself.

Highly as Douce Davie honoured the clergy, it was not upon each
individual of the cloth that he bestowed his approbation; and, a little
jealous, perhaps, at seeing his youthful acquaintance erected into the
dignity of a teacher and preacher, he instantly attacked him upon various
points of controversy, in order to discover whether he might not have
fallen into some of the snares, defections, and desertions of the time.
Butler was not only a man of stanch Presbyterian principles, but was also
willing to avoid giving pain to his old friend by disputing upon points
of little importance; and therefore he might have hoped to have come like
fine gold out of the furnace of Davie's interrogatories. But the result
on the mind of that strict investigator was not altogether so favourable
as might have been hoped and anticipated. Old Judith Butler, who had
hobbled that evening as far as Woodend, in order to enjoy the
congratulations of her neighbours upon Reuben's return, and upon his high
attainments, of which she was herself not a little proud, was somewhat
mortified to find that her old friend Deans did not enter into the
subject with the warmth she expected. At first, in he seemed rather
silent than dissatisfied; and it was not till Judith had essayed the
subject more than once that it led to the following dialogue.

"Aweel, neibor Deans, I thought ye wad hae been glad to see Reuben amang
us again, poor fellow."

"I _am_ glad, Mrs. Butler," was the neighbour's concise answer.

"Since he has lost his grandfather and his father (praised be Him that
giveth and taketh!), I ken nae friend he has in the world that's been sae
like a father to him as the sell o'ye, neibor Deans."

"God is the only father of the fatherless," said Deans, touching his
bonnet and looking upwards. "Give honour where it is due, gudewife, and
not to an unworthy instrument."

"Aweel, that's your way o' turning it, and nae doubt ye ken best; but I
hae ken'd ye, Davie, send a forpit o' meal to Beersheba when there wasna
a bow left in the meal-ark at Woodend; ay, and I hae ken'd ye."

"Gudewife," said Davie, interrupting her, "these are but idle tales to
tell me; fit for naething but to puff up our inward man wi' our ain vain
acts. I stude beside blessed Alexander Peden, when I heard him call the
death and testimony of our happy martyrs but draps of blude and scarts of
ink in respect of fitting discharge of our duty; and what suld I think of
ony thing the like of me can do?"

"Weel, neibor Deans, ye ken best; but I maun say that, I am sure you are
glad to see my bairn again--the halt's gane now, unless he has to walk
ower mony miles at a stretch; and he has a wee bit colour in his cheek,
that glads my auld een to see it; and he has as decent a black coat as
the minister; and--"

"I am very heartily glad he is weel and thriving," said Mr. Deans, with a
gravity that seemed intended to cut short the subject; but a woman who is
bent upon a point is not easily pushed aside from it.

"And," continued Mrs. Butler, "he can wag his head in a pulpit now,
neibor Deans, think but of that--my ain oe--and a'body maun sit still and
listen to him, as if he were the Paip of Rome."

"The what?--the who?--woman!" said Deans, with a sternness far beyond his
usual gravity, as soon as these offensive words had struck upon the
tympanum of his ear.

"Eh, guide us!" said the poor woman; "I had forgot what an ill will ye
had aye at the Paip, and sae had my puir gudeman, Stephen Butler. Mony an
afternoon he wad sit and take up his testimony again the Paip, and again
baptizing of bairns, and the like."

"Woman!" reiterated Deans, "either speak about what ye ken something o',
or be silent; I say that independency is a foul heresy, and anabaptism a
damnable and deceiving error, whilk suld be rooted out of the land wi'
the fire o' the spiritual, and the sword o' the civil magistrate."

"Weel, weel, neibor, I'll no say that ye mayna be right," answered the
submissive Judith. "I am sure ye are right about the sawing and the
mawing, the shearing and the leading, and what for suld ye no be right
about kirkwark, too?--But concerning my oe, Reuben Butler--"

"Reuben Butler, gudewife," said David, with solemnity, "is a lad I wish
heartily weel to, even as if he were mine ain son--but I doubt there will
be outs and ins in the track of his walk. I muckle fear his gifts will
get the heels of his grace. He has ower muckle human wit and learning,
and thinks as muckle about the form of the bicker as he does about the
healsomeness of the food--he maun broider the marriage-garment with lace
and passments, or it's no gude eneugh for him. And it's like he's
something proud o' his human gifts and learning, whilk enables him to
dress up his doctrine in that fine airy dress. But," added he, at seeing
the old woman's uneasiness at his discourse, "affliction may gie him a
jagg, and let the wind out o' him, as out o' a cow that's eaten wet
clover, and the lad may do weel, and be a burning and a shining light;
and I trust it will be yours to see, and his to feel it, and that soon."

Widow Butler was obliged to retire, unable to make anything more of her
neighbour, whose discourse, though she did not comprehend it, filled her
with undefined apprehensions on her grandson's account, and greatly
depressed the joy with which she had welcomed him on his return. And it
must not be concealed, in justice to Mr. Deans's discernment, that
Butler, in their conference, had made a greater display of his learning
than the occasion called for, or than was likely to be acceptable to the
old man, who, accustomed to consider himself as a person preeminently
entitled to dictate upon theological subjects of controversy, felt rather
humbled and mortified when learned authorities were placed in array
against him. In fact, Butler had not escaped the tinge of pedantry which
naturally flowed from his education, and was apt, on many occasions, to
make parade of his knowledge, when there was no need of such vanity.

Jeanie Deans, however, found no fault with this display of learning, but,
on the contrary, admired it; perhaps on the same score that her sex are
said to admire men of courage, on account of their own deficiency in that
qualification. The circumstances of their families threw the young people
constantly together; their old intimacy was renewed, though upon a
footing better adapted to their age; and it became at length understood
betwixt them, that their union should be deferred no longer than until
Butler should obtain some steady means of support, however humble. This,
however, was not a matter speedily to be accomplished. Plan after plan
was formed, and plan after plan failed. The good-humoured cheek of Jeanie
lost the first flush of juvenile freshness; Reuben's brow assumed the
gravity of manhood, yet the means of obtaining a settlement seemed remote
as ever. Fortunately for the lovers, their passion was of no ardent or
enthusiastic cast; and a sense of duty on both sides induced them to
bear, with patient fortitude, the protracted interval which divided them
from each other.

In the meanwhile, time did not roll on without effecting his usual
changes. The widow of Stephen Butler, so long the prop of the family of
Beersheba, was gathered to her fathers; and Rebecca, the careful spouse
of our friend Davie Deans, wa's also summoned from her plans of
matrimonial and domestic economy. The morning after her death, Reuben
Butler went to offer his mite of consolation to his old friend and
benefactor. He witnessed, on this occasion, a remarkable struggle betwixt
the force of natural affection and the religious stoicism which the
sufferer thought it was incumbent upon him to maintain under each earthly
dispensation, whether of weal or woe.

On his arrival at the cottage, Jeanie, with her eyes overflowing with
tears, pointed to the little orchard, "in which," she whispered with
broken accents, "my poor father has been since his misfortune." Somewhat
alarmed at this account, Butler entered the orchard, and advanced slowly
towards his old friend, who, seated in a small rude arbour, appeared to
be sunk in the extremity of his affliction. He lifted his eyes somewhat
sternly as Butler approached, as if offended at the interruption; but as
the young man hesitated whether he ought to retreat or advance, he arose,
and came forward to meet him with a self-possessed, and even dignified
air.

"Young man," said the sufferer, "lay it not to heart, though the
righteous perish, and the merciful are removed, seeing, it may well be
said, that they are taken away from the evils to come. Woe to me were I
to shed a tear for the wife of my bosom, when I might weep rivers of
water for this afflicted Church, cursed as it is with carnal seekers, and
with the dead of heart."

"I am happy," said Butler, "that you can forget your private affliction
in your regard for public duty."

"Forget, Reuben?" said poor Deans, putting his handkerchief to his
eyes--"She's not to be forgotten on this side of time; but He that gives
the wound can send the ointment. I declare there have been times during
this night when my meditation hae been so rapt, that I knew not of my
heavy loss. It has been with me as with the worthy John Semple, called
Carspharn John,* upon a like trial--I have been this night on the banks
of Ulai, plucking an apple here and there!"

* Note E. Carspharn John.

Notwithstanding the assumed fortitude of Deans, which he conceived to be
the discharge of a great Christian duty, he had too good a heart not to
suffer deeply under this heavy loss. Woodend became altogether
distasteful to him; and as he had obtained both substance and experience
by his management of that little farm, he resolved to employ them as a
dairy-farmer, or cowfeeder, as they are called in Scotland. The situation
he chose for his new settlement was at a place called Saint Leonard's
Crags, lying betwixt Edinburgh and the mountain called Arthur's Seat, and
adjoining to the extensive sheep pasture still named the King's Park,
from its having been formerly dedicated to the preservation of the royal
game. Here he rented a small lonely house, about half-a-mile distant from
the nearest point of the city, but the site of which, with all the
adjacent ground, is now occupied by the buildings which form the
southeastern suburb. An extensive pasture-ground adjoining, which Deans
rented from the keeper of the Royal Park, enabled him to feed his
milk-cows; and the unceasing industry and activity of Jeanie, his oldest
daughter, were exerted in making the most of their produce.

She had now less frequent opportunities of seeing Reuben, who had been
obliged, after various disappointments, to accept the subordinate
situation of assistant in a parochial school of some eminence, at three
or four miles' distance from the city. Here he distinguished himself, and
became acquainted with several respectable burgesses, who, on account of
health, or other reasons, chose that their children should commence their
education in this little village. His prospects were thus gradually
brightening, and upon each visit which he paid at Saint Leonard's he had
an opportunity of gliding a hint to this purpose into Jeanie's ear. These
visits were necessarily very rare, on account of the demands which the
duties of the school made upon Butler's time. Nor did he dare to make
them even altogether so frequent as these avocations would permit. Deans
received him with civility indeed, and even with kindness; but Reuben, as
is usual in such cases, imagined that he read his purpose in his eyes,
and was afraid too premature an explanation on the subject would draw
down his positive disapproval. Upon the whole, therefore, he judged it
prudent to call at Saint Leonard's just so frequently as old acquaintance
and neighbourhood seemed to authorise, and no oftener. There was another
person who was more regular in his visits.


[Illustration: The Laird in Jeanie's Cottage--130]


When Davie Deans intimated to the Laird of Dumbiedikes his purpose of
"quitting wi' the land and house at Woodend," the Laird stared and said
nothing. He made his usual visits at the usual hour without remark, until
the day before the term, when, observing the bustle of moving furniture
already commenced, the great east-country _awmrie_ dragged out of its
nook, and standing with its shoulder to the company, like an awkward
booby about to leave the room, the Laird again stared mightily, and was
heard to ejaculate,--"Hegh, sirs!" Even after the day of departure was
past and gone, the Laird of Dumbiedikes, at his usual hour, which was
that at which David Deans was wont to "loose the pleugh," presented
himself before the closed door of the cottage at Woodend, and seemed as
much astonished at finding it shut against his approach as if it was not
exactly what he had to expect. On this occasion he was heard to
ejaculate, "Gude guide us!" which, by those who knew him, was considered
as a very unusual mark of emotion. From that moment forward Dumbiedikes
became an altered man, and the regularity of his movements, hitherto so
exemplary, was as totally disconcerted as those of a boy's watch when he
has broken the main-spring. Like the index of the said watch did
Dumbiedikes spin round the whole bounds of his little property, which may
be likened unto the dial of the timepiece, with unwonted velocity. There
was not a cottage into which he did not enter, nor scarce a maiden on
whom he did not stare. But so it was, that although there were better
farm-houses on the land than Woodend, and certainly much prettier girls
than Jeanie Deans, yet it did somehow befall that the blank in the
Laird's time was not so pleasantly filled up as it had been. There was no
seat accommodated him so well as the "bunker" at Woodend, and no face he
loved so much to gaze on as Jeanie Deans's. So, after spinning round and
round his little orbit, and then remaining stationary for a week, it
seems to have occurred to him that he was not pinned down to circulate on
a pivot, like the hands of the watch, but possessed the power of shifting
his central point, and extending his circle if he thought proper. To
realise which privilege of change of place, he bought a pony from a
Highland drover, and with its assistance and company stepped, or rather
stumbled, as far as Saint Leonard's Crags.

Jeanie Deans, though so much accustomed to the Laird's staring that she
was sometimes scarce conscious of his presence, had nevertheless some
occasional fears lest he should call in the organ of speech to back those
expressions of admiration which he bestowed on her through his eyes.
Should this happen, farewell, she thought, to all chance of a union with
Butler. For her father, however stouthearted and independent in civil and
religious principles, was not without that respect for the laird of the
land, so deeply imprinted on the Scottish tenantry of the period.
Moreover, if he did not positively dislike Butler, yet his fund of carnal
learning was often the object of sarcasms on David's part, which were
perhaps founded in jealousy, and which certainly indicated no partiality
for the party against whom they were launched. And lastly, the match with
Dumbiedikes would have presented irresistible charms to one who used to
complain that he felt himself apt to take "ower grit an armfu' o' the
warld." So that, upon the whole, the Laird's diurnal visits were
disagreeable to Jeanie from apprehension of future consequences, and it
served much to console her, upon removing from the spot where she was
bred and born, that she had seen the last of Dumbiedikes, his laced hat,
and tobacco-pipe. The poor girl no more expected he could muster courage
to follow her to Saint Leonard's Crags than that any of her apple-trees
or cabbages which she had left rooted in the "yard" at Woodend, would
spontaneously, and unaided, have undertaken the same journey. It was
therefore with much more surprise than pleasure that, on the sixth day
after their removal to Saint Leonard's, she beheld Dumbiedikes arrive,
laced hat, tobacco-pipe, and all, and, with the self-same greeting of
"How's a' wi' ye, Jeanie?--Whare's the gudeman?" assume as nearly as he
could the same position in the cottage at Saint Leonard's which he had so
long and so regularly occupied at Woodend. He was no sooner, however,
seated, than with an unusual exertion of his powers of conversation, he
added, "Jeanie--I say, Jeanie, woman"--here he extended his hand towards
her shoulder with all the fingers spread out as if to clutch it, but in
so bashful and awkward a manner, that when she whisked herself beyond its
reach, the paw remained suspended in the air with the palm open, like the
claw of a heraldic griffin--"Jeanie," continued the swain in this moment
of inspiration--"I say, Jeanie, it's a braw day out-by, and the roads are
no that ill for boot-hose."


[Illustration: Jeanie--I say, Jeanie, woman--133


"The deil's in the daidling body," muttered Jeanie between her teeth;
"wha wad hae thought o' his daikering out this length?" And she
afterwards confessed that she threw a little of this ungracious sentiment
into her accent and manner; for her father being abroad, and the "body,"
as she irreverently termed the landed proprietor, "looking unco gleg and
canty, she didna ken what he might be coming out wi' next."

Her frowns, however, acted as a complete sedative, and the Laird relapsed
from that day into his former taciturn habits, visiting the cowfeeder's
cottage three or four times every week, when the weather permitted, with
apparently no other purpose than to stare at Jeanie Deans, while Douce
Davie poured forth his eloquence upon the controversies and testimonies
of the day.



CHAPTER NINTH.


              Her air, her manners, all who saw admired,
              Courteous, though coy, and gentle, though retired;
              The joy of youth and health her eyes displayed;
              And ease of heart her every look conveyed.
                                                       Crabbe.

The visits of the Laird thus again sunk into matters of ordinary course,
from which nothing was to be expected or apprehended. If a lover could
have gained a fair one as a snake is said to fascinate a bird, by
pertinaciously gazing on her with great stupid greenish eyes, which began
now to be occasionally aided by spectacles, unquestionably Dumbiedikes
would have been the person to perform the feat. But the art of
fascination seems among the _artes perditae,_ and I cannot learn that
this most pertinacious of starers produced any effect by his attentions
beyond an occasional yawn.

In the meanwhile, the object of his gaze was gradually attaining the
verge of youth, and approaching to what is called in females the middle
age, which is impolitely held to begin a few years earlier with their
more fragile sex than with men. Many people would have been of opinion,
that the Laird would have done better to have transferred his glances to
an object possessed of far superior charms to Jeanie's, even when
Jeanie's were in their bloom, who began now to be distinguished by all
who visited the cottage at St. Leonard's Crags.

Effie Deans, under the tender and affectionate care of her sister, had
now shot up into a beautiful and blooming girl. Her Grecian shaped head
was profusely rich in waving ringlets of brown hair, which, confined by a
blue snood of silk, and shading a laughing Hebe countenance, seemed the
picture of health, pleasure, and contentment. Her brown russet short-gown
set off a shape, which time, perhaps, might be expected to render too
robust, the frequent objection to Scottish beauty, but which, in her
present early age, was slender and taper, with that graceful and easy
sweep of outline which at once indicates health and beautiful proportion
of parts.

These growing charms, in all their juvenile profusion, had no power to
shake the steadfast mind, or divert the fixed gaze of the constant Laird
of Dumbiedikes. But there was scarce another eye that could behold this
living picture of health and beauty, without pausing on it with pleasure.
The traveller stopped his weary horse on the eve of entering the city
which was the end of his journey, to gaze at the sylph-like form that
tripped by him, with her milk-pail poised on her head, bearing herself so
erect, and stepping so light and free under her burden, that it seemed
rather an ornament than an encumbrance. The lads of the neighbouring
suburb, who held their evening rendezvous for putting the stone, casting
the hammer, playing at long bowls, and other athletic exercises, watched
the motions of Effie Deans, and contended with each other which should
have the good fortune to attract her attention. Even the rigid
Presbyterians of her father's persuasion, who held each indulgence of the
eye and sense to be a snare at least if not a crime, were surprised into
a moment's delight while gazing on a creature so exquisite,--instantly
checked by a sigh, reproaching at once their own weakness, and mourning
that a creature so fair should share in the common and hereditary guilt
and imperfection of our nature, which she deserved as much by her
guileless purity of thought, speech, and action, as by her uncommon
loveliness of face and person.

Yet there were points in Effie's character which gave rise not only to
strange doubt and anxiety on the part of Douce David Deans, whose ideas
were rigid, as may easily be supposed, upon the subject of youthful
amusements, but even of serious apprehension to her more indulgent
sister. The children of the Scotch of the inferior classes are usually
spoiled by the early indulgence of their parents; how, wherefore, and to
what degree, the lively and instructive narrative of the amiable and
accomplished authoress of "Glenburnie"* has saved me and all future
scribblers the trouble of recording.

* [The late Mrs. Elizabeth Hamilton.]

Effie had had a double share of this inconsiderate and misjudged
kindness. Even the strictness of her father's principles could not
condemn the sports of infancy and childhood; and to the good old man, his
younger daughter, the child of his old age, seemed a child for some years
after she attained the years of womanhood, was still called the "bit
lassie," and "little Effie," and was permitted to run up and down
uncontrolled, unless upon the Sabbath, or at the times of family worship.
Her sister, with all the love and care of a mother, could not be supposed
to possess the same authoritative influence; and that which she had
hitherto exercised became gradually limited and diminished as Effie's
advancing years entitled her, in her own conceit at least, to the right
of independence and free agency. With all the innocence and goodness of
disposition, therefore, which we have described, the Lily of St.
Leonard's possessed a little fund of self-conceit and obstinacy, and some
warmth and irritability of temper, partly natural perhaps, but certainly
much increased by the unrestrained freedom of her childhood. Her
character will be best illustrated by a cottage evening scene.

The careful father was absent in his well-stocked byre, foddering those
useful and patient animals on whose produce his living depended, and the
summer evening was beginning to close in, when Jeanie Deans began to be
very anxious for the appearance of her sister, and to fear that she would
not reach home before her father returned from the labour of the evening,
when it was his custom to have "family exercise," and when she knew that
Effie's absence would give him the most serious displeasure. These
apprehensions hung heavier upon her mind, because, for several preceding
evenings, Effie had disappeared about the same time, and her stay, at
first so brief as scarce to be noticed, had been gradually protracted to
half-an-hour, and an hour, and on the present occasion had considerably
exceeded even this last limit. And now, Jeanie stood at the door, with
her hand before her eyes to avoid the rays of the level sun, and looked
alternately along the various tracks which led towards their dwelling, to
see if she could descry the nymph-like form of her sister. There was a
wall and a stile which separated the royal domain, or King's Park, as it
is called, from the public road; to this pass she frequently directed her
attention, when she saw two persons appear there somewhat suddenly, as if
they had walked close by the side of the wall to screen themselves from
observation. One of them, a man, drew back hastily; the other, a female,
crossed the stile, and advanced towards her--It was Effie. She met her
sister with that affected liveliness of manner, which, in her rank, and
sometimes in those above it, females occasionally assume to hide surprise
or confusion; and she carolled as she came--

                    "The elfin knight sate on the brae,
                    The broom grows bonny, the broom grows fair;
                    And by there came lilting a lady so gay,
                    And we daurna gang down to the broom nae mair."

"Whisht, Effie," said her sister; "our father's coming out o' the byre."
--The damsel stinted in her song.--"Whare hae ye been sae late at e'en?"

"It's no late, lass," answered Effie.

"It's chappit eight on every clock o' the town, and the sun's gaun down
ahint the Corstorphine hills--Whare can ye hae been sae late?"

"Nae gate," answered Effie.

"And wha was that parted wi' you at the stile?"

"Naebody," replied Effie once more.

"Nae gate?--Naebody?--I wish it may be a right gate, and a right body,
that keeps folk out sae late at e'en, Effie."

"What needs ye be aye speering then at folk?" retorted Effie. "I'm sure,
if ye'll ask nae questions, I'll tell ye nae lees. I never ask what
brings the Laird of Dumbiedikes glowering here like a wull-cat (only his
een's greener, and no sae gleg), day after day, till we are a' like to
gaunt our charts aft."

"Because ye ken very weel he comes to see our father," said Jeanie, in
answer to this pert remark.

"And Dominie Butler--Does he come to see our father, that's sae taen wi'
his Latin words?" said Effie, delighted to find that by carrying the war
into the enemy's country, she could divert the threatened attack upon
herself, and with the petulance of youth she pursued her triumph over her
prudent elder sister. She looked at her with a sly air, in which there
was something like irony, as she chanted, in a low but marked tone, a
scrap of an old Scotch song--

                    "Through the kirkyard
                    I met wi' the Laird,
                    The silly puir body he said me nae harm;
                    But just ere 'twas dark,
                    I met wi' the clerk"

Here the songstress stopped, looked full at her sister, and, observing
the tears gather in her eyes, she suddenly flung her arms round her neck,
and kissed them away. Jeanie, though hurt and displeased, was unable to
resist the caresses of this untaught child of nature, whose good and evil
seemed to flow rather from impulse than from reflection. But as she
returned the sisterly kiss, in token of perfect reconciliation, she could
not suppress the gentle reproof--"Effie, if ye will learn fule sangs, ye
might make a kinder use of them."

"And so I might, Jeanie," continued the girl, clinging to her sister's
neck; "and I wish I had never learned ane o' them--and I wish we had
never come here--and I wish my tongue had been blistered or I had vexed
ye."

"Never mind that, Effie," replied the affectionate sister; "I canna be
muckle vexed wi' ony thing ye say to me--but O, dinna vex our father!"

"I will not--I will not," replied Effie; "and if there were as mony
dances the morn's night as there are merry dancers in the north firmament
on a frosty e'en, I winna budge an inch to gang near ane o' them."

"Dance!" echoed Jeanie Deans in astonishment. "O Effie, what could take
ye to a dance?"

It is very possible, that, in the communicative mood into which the Lily
of St. Leonard's was now surprised, she might have given her sister her
unreserved confidence, and saved me the pain of telling a melancholy
tale; but at the moment the word dance was uttered, it reached the ear of
old David Deans, who had turned the corner of the house, and came upon
his daughters ere they were aware of his presence. The word _prelate,_ or
even the word _pope,_ could hardly have produced so appalling an effect
upon David's ear; for, of all exercises, that of dancing, which he termed
a voluntary and regular fit of distraction, he deemed most destructive of
serious thoughts, and the readiest inlet to all sorts of licentiousness;
and he accounted the encouraging, and even permitting, assemblies or
meetings, whether among those of high or low degree, for this fantastic
and absurd purpose, or for that of dramatic representations, as one of
the most flagrant proofs of defection and causes of wrath. The
pronouncing of the word _dance_ by his own daughters, and at his own
door, now drove him beyond the verge of patience. "Dance!" he exclaimed.
"Dance!--dance, said ye? I daur ye, limmers that ye are, to name sic a
word at my door-cheek! It's a dissolute profane pastime, practised by the
Israelites only at their base and brutal worship of the Golden Calf at
Bethel, and by the unhappy lass wha danced aff the head of John the
Baptist, upon whilk chapter I will exercise this night for your farther
instruction, since ye need it sae muckle, nothing doubting that she has
cause to rue the day, lang or this time, that e'er she suld hae shook a
limb on sic an errand. Better for her to hae been born a cripple, and
carried frae door to door, like auld Bessie Bowie, begging bawbees, than
to be a king's daughter, fiddling and flinging the gate she did. I hae
often wondered that ony ane that ever bent a knee for the right purpose,
should ever daur to crook a hough to fyke and fling at piper's wind and
fiddler's squealing. And I bless God (with that singular worthy, Peter
Walker the packman at Bristo-Port),* that ordered my lot in my dancing
days, so that fear of my head and throat, dread of bloody rope and swift
bullet, and trenchant swords and pain of boots and thumkins, cauld and
hunger, wetness and weariness, stopped the lightness of my head, and the
wantonness of my feet.

* Note F. Peter Walker.

And now, if I hear ye, quean lassies, sae muckle as name dancing, or
think there's sic a thing in this warld as flinging to fiddler's sounds,
and piper's springs, as sure as my father's spirit is with the just, ye
shall be no more either charge or concern of mine! Gang in, then--gang
in, then, hinnies," he added, in a softer tone, for the tears of both
daughters, but especially those of Effie, began to flow very fast,--"Gang
in, dears, and we'll seek grace to preserve us frae all, manner of
profane folly, whilk causeth to sin, and promoteth the kingdom of
darkness, warring with the kingdom of light."

The objurgation of David Deans, however well meant, was unhappily timed.
It created a division of feelings in Effie's bosom, and deterred her from
her intended confidence in her sister. "She wad hand me nae better than
the dirt below her feet," said Effie to herself, "were I to confess I hae
danced wi' him four times on the green down by, and ance at Maggie
Macqueens's; and she'll maybe hing it ower my head that she'll tell my
father, and then she wad be mistress and mair. But I'll no gang back
there again. I'm resolved I'll no gang back. I'll lay in a leaf of my
Bible,* and that's very near as if I had made an aith, that I winna gang
back."

* This custom of making a mark by folding a leaf in the party's Bible,
when a solemn resolution is formed, is still held to be, in some sense,
an appeal to Heaven for his or her sincerity.

And she kept her vow for a week, during which she was unusually cross and
fretful, blemishes which had never before been observed in her temper,
except during a moment of contradiction.

There was something in all this so mysterious as considerably to alarm
the prudent and affectionate Jeanie, the more so as she judged it unkind
to her sister to mention to their father grounds of anxiety which might
arise from her own imagination. Besides, her respect for the good old man
did not prevent her from being aware that he was both hot-tempered and
positive, and she sometimes suspected that he carried his dislike to
youthful amusements beyond the verge that religion and reason demanded.
Jeanie had sense enough to see that a sudden and severe curb upon her
sister's hitherto unrestrained freedom might be rather productive of harm
than good, and that Effie, in the headstrong wilfulness of youth, was
likely to make what might be overstrained in her father's precepts an
excuse to herself for neglecting them altogether. In the higher classes,
a damsel, however giddy, is still under the dominion of etiquette, and
subject to the surveillance of mammas and chaperons; but the country
girl, who snatches her moment of gaiety during the intervals of labour,
is under no such guardianship or restraint, and her amusement becomes so
much the more hazardous. Jeanie saw all this with much distress of mind,
when a circumstance occurred which appeared calculated to relieve her
anxiety.

Mrs. Saddletree, with whom our readers have already been made acquainted,
chanced to be a distant relation of Douce David Deans, and as she was a
woman orderly in her life and conversation, and, moreover, of good
substance, a sort of acquaintance was formally kept up between the
families. Now, this careful dame, about a year and a half before our
story commences, chanced to need, in the line of her profession, a better
sort of servant, or rather shop-woman. "Mr. Saddletree," she said, "was
never in the shop when he could get his nose within the Parliament House,
and it was an awkward thing for a woman-body to be standing among bundles
o' barkened leather her lane, selling saddles and bridles; and she had
cast her eyes upon her far-awa cousin Effie Deans, as just the very sort
of lassie she would want to keep her in countenance on such occasions."

In this proposal there was much that pleased old David,--there was bed,
board, and bountith--it was a decent situation--the lassie would be under
Mrs. Saddletree's eye, who had an upright walk, and lived close by the
Tolbooth Kirk, in which might still be heard the comforting doctrines of
one of those few ministers of the Kirk of Scotland who had not bent the
knee unto Baal, according to David's expression, or become accessory to
the course of national defections,--union, toleration, patronages, and a
bundle of prelatical Erastian oaths which had been imposed on the church
since the Revolution, and particularly in the reign of "the late woman"
(as he called Queen Anne), the last of that unhappy race of Stuarts. In
the good man's security concerning the soundness of the theological
doctrine which his daughter was to hear, he was nothing disturbed on
account of the snares of a different kind, to which a creature so
beautiful, young, and wilful, might be exposed in the centre of a
populous and corrupted city. The fact is, that he thought with so much
horror on all approaches to irregularities of the nature most to be
dreaded in such cases, that he would as soon have suspected and guarded
against Effie's being induced to become guilty of the crime of murder. He
only regretted that she should live under the same roof with such a
worldly-wise man as Bartoline Saddletree, whom David never suspected of
being an ass as he was, but considered as one really endowed with all the
legal knowledge to which he made pretension, and only liked him the worse
for possessing it. The lawyers, especially those amongst them who sate as
ruling elders in the General Assembly of the Kirk, had been forward in
promoting the measures of patronage, of the abjuration oath, and others,
which, in the opinion of David Deans, were a breaking down of the carved
work of the sanctuary, and an intrusion upon the liberties of the kirk.
Upon the dangers of listening to the doctrines of a legalised formalist,
such as Saddletree, David gave his daughter many lectures; so much so,
that he had time to touch but slightly on the dangers of chambering,
company-keeping, and promiscuous dancing, to which, at her time of life,
most people would have thought Effie more exposed, than to the risk of
theoretical error in her religious faith.

Jeanie parted from her sister with a mixed feeling of regret, and
apprehension, and hope. She could not be so confident concerning Effie's
prudence as her father, for she had observed her more narrowly, had more
sympathy with her feelings, and could better estimate the temptations to
which she was exposed. On the other hand, Mrs. Saddletree was an
observing, shrewd, notable woman, entitled to exercise over Effie the
full authority of a mistress, and likely to do so strictly, yet with
kindness. Her removal to Saddletree's, it was most probable, would also
serve to break off some idle acquaintances, which Jeanie suspected her
sister to have formed in the neighbouring suburb. Upon the whole, then,
she viewed her departure from Saint Leonard's with pleasure, and it was
not until the very moment of their parting for the first time in their
lives, that she felt the full force of sisterly sorrow. While they
repeatedly kissed each other's cheeks, and wrung each other's hands,
Jeanie took that moment of affectionate sympathy, to press upon her
sister the necessity of the utmost caution in her conduct while residing
in Edinburgh. Effie listened, without once raising her large dark
eyelashes, from which the drops fell so fast as almost to resemble a
fountain. At the conclusion she sobbed again, kissed her sister, promised
to recollect all the good counsel she had given her, and they parted.

During the first weeks, Effie was all that her kinswoman expected, and
even more. But with time there came a relaxation of that early zeal which
she manifested in Mrs. Saddletree's service. To borrow once again from
the poet, who so correctly and beautifully describes living manners:--


               Something there was,--what, none presumed to say,--
               Clouds lightly passing on a summer's day;
               Whispers and hints, which went from ear to ear,
               And mixed reports no judge on earth could clear.

During this interval, Mrs. Saddletree was sometimes displeased by Effie's
lingering when she was sent upon errands about the shop business, and
sometimes by a little degree of impatience which she manifested at being
rebuked on such occasions. But she good-naturedly allowed, that the first
was very natural to a girl to whom everything in Edinburgh was new and
the other was only the petulance of a spoiled child, when subjected to
the yoke of domestic discipline for the first time. Attention and
submission could not be learned at once--Holyrood was not built in a
day--use would make perfect.

It seemed as if the considerate old lady had presaged truly. Ere many
months had passed, Effie became almost wedded to her duties, though she
no longer discharged them with the laughing cheek and light step, which
had at first attracted every customer. Her mistress sometimes observed
her in tears, but they were signs of secret sorrow, which she concealed
as often as she saw them attract notice. Time wore on, her cheek grew
pale, and her step heavy. The cause of these changes could not have
escaped the matronly eye of Mrs. Saddletree, but she was chiefly confined
by indisposition to her bedroom for a considerable time during the latter
part of Effie's service. This interval was marked by symptoms of anguish
almost amounting to despair. The utmost efforts of the poor girl to
command her fits of hysterical agony were, often totally unavailing, and
the mistakes which she made in the shop the while, were so numerous and
so provoking that Bartoline Saddletree, who, during his wife's illness,
was obliged to take closer charge of the business than consisted with his
study of the weightier matters of the law, lost all patience with the
girl, who, in his law Latin, and without much respect to gender, he
declared ought to be cognosced by inquest of a jury, as _fatuus,
furiosus,_ and _naturaliter idiota._ Neighbours, also, and
fellow-servants, remarked with malicious curiosity or degrading pity, the
disfigured shape, loose dress, and pale cheeks, of the once beautiful and
still interesting girl. But to no one would she grant her confidence,
answering all taunts with bitter sarcasm, and all serious expostulation
with sullen denial, or with floods of tears.

At length, when Mrs. Saddletree's recovery was likely to permit her
wonted attention to the regulation of her household, Effie Deans, as if
unwilling to face an investigation made by the authority of her mistress,
asked permission of Bartoline to go home for a week or two, assigning
indisposition, and the wish of trying the benefit of repose and the
change of air, as the motives of her request. Sharp-eyed as a lynx (or
conceiving himself to be so) in the nice sharp quillits of legal
discussion, Bartoline was as dull at drawing inferences from the
occurrences of common life as any Dutch professor of mathematics. He
suffered Effie to depart without much suspicion, and without any inquiry.

It was afterwards found that a period of a week intervened betwixt her
leaving her master's house and arriving at St. Leonard's. She made her
appearance before her sister in a state rather resembling the spectre
than the living substance of the gay and beautiful girl, who had left her
father's cottage for the first time scarce seventeen months before. The
lingering illness of her mistress had, for the last few months, given her
a plea for confining herself entirely to the dusky precincts of the shop
in the Lawnmarket, and Jeanie was so much occupied, during the same
period, with the concerns of her father's household, that she had rarely
found leisure for a walk in the city, and a brief and hurried visit to
her sister. The young women, therefore, had scarcely seen each other for
several months, nor had a single scandalous surmise reached the ears of
the secluded inhabitants of the cottage at St. Leonard's. Jeanie,
therefore, terrified to death at her sister's appearance, at first
overwhelmed her with inquiries, to which the unfortunate young woman
returned for a time incoherent and rambling answers, and finally fell
into a hysterical fit. Rendered too certain of her sister's misfortune,
Jeanie had now the dreadful alternative of communicating her ruin to her
father, or of endeavouring to conceal it from him. To all questions
concerning the name or rank of her seducer, and the fate of the being to
whom her fall had given birth, Effie remained as mute as the grave, to
which she seemed hastening; and indeed the least allusion to either
seemed to drive her to distraction. Her sister, in distress and in
despair, was about to repair to Mrs. Saddletree to consult her
experience, and at the same time to obtain what lights she could upon
this most unhappy affair, when she was saved that trouble by a new stroke
of fate, which seemed to carry misfortune to the uttermost.

David Deans had been alarmed at the state of health in which his daughter
had returned to her paternal residence; but Jeanie had contrived to
divert him from particular and specific inquiry. It was therefore like a
clap of thunder to the poor old man, when, just as the hour of noon had
brought the visit of the Laird of Dumbiedikes as usual, other and
sterner, as well as most unexpected guests, arrived at the cottage of St.
Leonard's. These were the officers of justice, with a warrant of
justiciary to search for and apprehend Euphemia, or Effie Deans, accused
of the crime of child-murder. The stunning weight of a blow so totally
unexpected bore down the old man, who had in his early youth resisted the
brow of military and civil tyranny, though backed with swords and guns,
tortures and gibbets. He fell extended and senseless upon his own hearth;
and the men, happy to escape from the scene of his awakening, raised,
with rude humanity, the object of their warrant from her bed, and placed
her in a coach, which they had brought with them. The hasty remedies
which Jeanie had applied to bring back her father's senses were scarce
begun to operate, when the noise of the wheels in motion recalled her
attention to her miserable sister. To ran shrieking after the carriage
was the first vain effort of her distraction, but she was stopped by one
or two female neighbours, assembled by the extraordinary appearance of a
coach in that sequestered place, who almost forced her back to her
father's house. The deep and sympathetic affliction of these poor people,
by whom the little family at St. Leonard's were held in high regard,
filled the house with lamentation. Even Dumbiedikes was moved from his
wonted apathy, and, groping for his purse as he spoke, ejaculated,
"Jeanie, woman!--Jeanie, woman! dinna greet--it's sad wark, but siller
will help it;" and he drew out his purse as he spoke.

The old man had now raised himself from the ground, and, looking about
him as if he missed something, seemed gradually to recover the sense of
his wretchedness. "Where," he said, with a voice that made the roof ring,
"where is the vile harlot, that has disgraced the blood of an honest
man?--Where is she, that has no place among us, but has come foul with
her sins, like the Evil One, among the children of God?--Where is she,
Jeanie?--Bring her before me, that I may kill her with a word and a
look!"

All hastened around him with their appropriate sources of
consolation--the Laird with his purse, Jeanie with burnt feathers and
strong waters, and the women with their exhortations. "O neighbour--O
Mr. Deans, it's a sair trial, doubtless--but think of the Rock of Ages,
neighbour--think of the promise!"

"And I do think of it, neighbours--and I bless God that I can think of
it, even in the wrack and ruin of a' that's nearest and dearest to
me--But to be the father of a castaway--a profligate--a bloody
Zipporah--a mere murderess!--O, how will the wicked exult in the high
places of their wickedness!--the prelatists, and the latitudinarians,
and the hand-waled murderers, whose hands are hard as horn wi' handing
the slaughter-weapons--they will push out the lip, and say that we are
even such as themselves. Sair, sair I am grieved, neighbours, for the
poor castaway--for the child of mine old age--but sairer for the
stumbling-block and scandal it will be to all tender and honest souls!"

"Davie--winna siller do't?" insinuated the laird, still proffering his
green purse, which was full of guineas.

"I tell ye, Dumbiedikes," said Deans, "that if telling down my haill
substance could hae saved her frae this black snare, I wad hae walked out
wi' naething but my bonnet and my staff to beg an awmous for God's sake,
and ca'd mysell an happy man--But if a dollar, or a plack, or the
nineteenth part of a boddle, wad save her open guilt and open shame frae
open punishment, that purchase wad David Deans never make!--Na, na; an
eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, life for life, blood for blood--it's
the law of man, and it's the law of God.--Leave me, sirs--leave me--I
maun warstle wi' this trial in privacy and on my knees."

Jeanie, now in some degree restored to the power of thought, joined in
the same request. The next day found the father and daughter still in the
depth of affliction, but the father sternly supporting his load of ill
through a proud sense of religious duty, and the daughter anxiously
suppressing her own feelings to avoid again awakening his. Thus was it
with the afflicted family until the morning after Porteous's death, a
period at which we are now arrived.



CHAPTER TENTH.


                Is all the counsel that we two have shared,
                The sisters' vows, the hours that we have spent
                When we have chid the hasty-footed time
                For parting us--Oh!--and is all forgot?
                                           Midsummer Night's Dream.

We have been a long while in conducting Butler to the door of the cottage
at St. Leonard's; yet the space which we have occupied in the preceding
narrative does not exceed in length that which he actually spent on
Salisbury Crags on the morning which succeeded the execution done upon
Porteous by the rioters. For this delay he had his own motives. He wished
to collect his thoughts, strangely agitated as they were, first by the
melancholy news of Effie Deans's situation, and afterwards by the
frightful scene which he had witnessed. In the situation also in which he
stood with respect to Jeanie and her father, some ceremony, at least some
choice of fitting time and season, was necessary to wait upon them. Eight
in the morning was then the ordinary hour for breakfast, and he resolved
that it should arrive before he made his appearance in their cottage.

Never did hours pass so heavily. Butler shifted his place and enlarged
his circle to while away the time, and heard the huge bell of St. Giles's
toll each successive hour in swelling tones, which were instantly
attested by those of the other steeples in succession. He had heard seven
struck in this manner, when he began to think he might venture to
approach nearer to St. Leonard's, from which he was still a mile distant.
Accordingly he descended from his lofty station as low as the bottom of
the valley, which divides Salisbury Crags from those small rocks which
take their name from Saint Leonard. It is, as many of my readers may
know, a deep, wild, grassy valley, scattered with huge rocks and
fragments which have descended from the cliffs and steep ascent to the
east.

This sequestered dell, as well as other places of the open pasturage of
the King's Park, was, about this time, often the resort of the gallants
of the time who had affairs of honour to discuss with the sword. Duels
were then very common in Scotland, for the gentry were at once idle,
haughty, fierce, divided by faction, and addicted to intemperance, so
that there lacked neither provocation, nor inclination to resent it when
given; and the sword, which was part of every gentleman's dress, was the
only weapon used for the decision of such differences. When, therefore,
Butler observed a young man, skulking, apparently to avoid observation,
among the scattered rocks at some distance from the footpath, he was
naturally led to suppose that he had sought this lonely spot upon that
evil errand. He was so strongly impressed with this, that,
notwithstanding his own distress of mind, he could not, according to his
sense of duty as a clergyman, pass this person without speaking to him.
There are times, thought he to himself, when the slightest interference
may avert a great calamity--when a word spoken in season may do more for
prevention than the eloquence of Tully could do for remedying evil--And
for my own griefs, be they as they may, I shall feel them the lighter, if
they divert me not from the prosecution of my duty.

Thus thinking and feeling, he quitted the ordinary path, and advanced
nearer the object he had noticed. The man at first directed his course
towards the hill, in order, as it appeared, to avoid him; but when he saw
that Butler seemed disposed to follow him, he adjusted his hat fiercely,
turned round, and came forward, as if to meet and defy scrutiny.

Butler had an opportunity of accurately studying his features as they
advanced slowly to meet each other. The stranger seemed about twenty-five
years old. His dress was of a kind which could hardly be said to indicate
his rank with certainty, for it was such as young gentlemen sometimes
wore while on active exercise in the morning, and which, therefore, was
imitated by those of the inferior ranks, as young clerks and tradesmen,
because its cheapness rendered it attainable, while it approached more
nearly to the apparel of youths of fashion than any other which the
manners of the times permitted them to wear. If his air and manner could
be trusted, however, this person seemed rather to be dressed under than
above his rank; for his carriage was bold and somewhat supercilious, his
step easy and free, his manner daring and unconstrained. His stature was
of the middle size, or rather above it, his limbs well-proportioned, yet
not so strong as to infer the reproach of clumsiness. His features were
uncommonly handsome, and all about him would have been interesting and
prepossessing but for that indescribable expression which habitual
dissipation gives to the countenance, joined with a certain audacity in
look and manner, of that kind which is often assumed as a mask for
confusion and apprehension.

Butler and the stranger met--surveyed each other--when, as the latter,
slightly touching his hat, was about to pass by him, Butler, while he
returned the salutation, observed, "A fine morning, sir--You are on the
hill early."

"I have business here," said the young man, in a tone meant to repress
farther inquiry.

"I do not doubt it, sir," said Butler. "I trust you will forgive my
hoping that it is of a lawful kind?"

"Sir," said the other, with marked surprise, "I never forgive
impertinence, nor can I conceive what title you have to hope anything
about what no way concerns you."

"I am a soldier, sir," said Butler, "and have a charge to arrest
evil-doers in the name of my Master."

"A soldier!" said the young man, stepping back, and fiercely laying his
hand on his sword--"A soldier, and arrest me! Did you reckon what your
life was worth, before you took the commission upon you?"

"You mistake me, sir," said Butler, gravely; "neither my warfare nor my
warrant are of this world. I am a preacher of the gospel, and have power,
in my Master's name, to command the peace upon earth and good-will
towards men, which was proclaimed with the gospel."

"A minister!" said the stranger, carelessly, and with an expression
approaching to scorn. "I know the gentlemen of your cloth in Scotland
claim a strange right of intermeddling with men's private affairs. But I
have been abroad, and know better than to be priest-ridden."

"Sir, if it be true that any of my cloth, or, it might be more decently
said, of my calling, interfere with men's private affairs, for the
gratification either of idle curiosity, or for worse motives, you cannot
have learned a better lesson abroad than to contemn such practices. But
in my Master's work, I am called to be busy in season and out of season;
and, conscious as I am of a pure motive, it were better for me to incur
your contempt for speaking, than the correction of my own conscience for
being silent."

"In the name of the devil!" said the young man impatiently, "say what you
have to say, then; though whom you take me for, or what earthly concern
you have with me, a stranger to you, or with my actions and motives, of
which you can know nothing, I cannot conjecture for an instant."

"You are about," said Butler, "to violate one of your country's wisest
laws--you are about, which is much more dreadful, to violate a law, which
God himself has implanted within our nature, and written as it were, in
the table of our hearts, to which every thrill of our nerves is
responsive."

"And what is the law you speak of?" said the stranger, in a hollow and
somewhat disturbed accent.

"Thou shalt do no murder," said Butler, with a deep and solemn voice.

The young man visibly started, and looked considerably appalled. Butler
perceived he had made a favourable impression, and resolved to follow it
up. "Think," he said, "young man," laying his hand kindly upon the
stranger's shoulder, "what an awful alternative you voluntarily choose
for yourself, to kill or be killed. Think what it is to rush uncalled
into the presence of an offended Deity, your heart fermenting with evil
passions, your hand hot from the steel you had been urging, with your
best skill and malice, against the breast of a fellow-creature. Or,
suppose yourself the scarce less wretched survivor, with the guilt of
Cain, the first murderer, in your heart, with the stamp upon your
brow--that stamp which struck all who gazed on him with unutterable
horror, and by which the murderer is made manifest to all who look upon
him. Think!"

The stranger gradually withdrew himself from under the hand of his
monitor; and, pulling his hat over his brows, thus interrupted him. "Your
meaning, sir, I dare say, is excellent, but you are throwing your advice
away. I am not in this place with violent intentions against any one. I
may be bad enough--you priests say all men are so--but I am here for the
purpose of saving life, not of taking it away. If you wish to spend your
time rather in doing a good action than in talking about you know not
what, I will give you an opportunity. Do you see yonder crag to the
right, over which appears the chimney of a lone house? Go thither,
inquire for one Jeanie Deans, the daughter of the goodman; let her know
that he she wots of remained here from daybreak till this hour, expecting
to see her, and that he can abide no longer. Tell her, she _must_ meet me
at the Hunter's Bog to-night, as the moon rises behind St. Anthony's
Hill, or that she will make a desperate man of me."

"Who or what are you," replied Butler, exceedingly and most unpleasantly
surprised, "who charge me with such an errand?"

"I am the devil!"--answered the young man hastily.

Butler stepped instinctively back, and commanded himself internally to
Heaven; for, though a wise and strong-minded man, he was neither wiser
nor more strong-minded than those of his age and education, with whom, to
disbelieve witchcraft or spectres, was held an undeniable proof of
atheism.

The stranger went on without observing his emotion. "Yes! call me
Apollyon, Abaddon, whatever name you shall choose, as a clergyman
acquainted with the upper and lower circles of spiritual denomination, to
call me by, you shall not find an appellation more odious to him that
bears it, than is mine own."

This sentence was spoken with the bitterness of self-upbraiding, and a
contortion of visage absolutely demoniacal. Butler, though a man brave by
principle, if not by constitution, was overawed; for intensity of mental
distress has in it a sort of sublimity which repels and overawes all men,
but especially those of kind and sympathetic dispositions. The stranger
turned abruptly from Butler as he spoke, but instantly returned, and,
coming up to him closely and boldly, said, in a fierce, determined tone,
"I have told you who and what I am--who and what are you? What is your
name?"

"Butler," answered the person to whom this abrupt question was addressed,
surprised into answering it by the sudden and fierce manner of the
querist--"Reuben Butler, a preacher of the gospel."

At this answer, the stranger again plucked more deep over his brows the
hat which he had thrown back in his former agitation. "Butler!" he
repeated--"the assistant of the schoolmaster at Liberton?"

"The same," answered Butler composedly.

The stranger covered his face with his hand, as if on sudden reflection,
and then turned away, but stopped when he had walked a few paces; and
seeing Butler follow him with his eyes, called out in a stern yet
suppressed tone, just as if he had exactly calculated that his accents
should not be heard a yard beyond the spot on which Butler stood. "Go
your way, and do mine errand. Do not look after me. I will neither
descend through the bowels of these rocks, nor vanish in a flash of fire;
and yet the eye that seeks to trace my motions shall have reason to curse
it was ever shrouded by eyelid or eyelash. Begone, and look not behind
you. Tell Jeanie Deans, that when the moon rises I shall expect to meet
her at Nicol Muschat's Cairn, beneath Saint Anthony's Chapel."


[Illustration: St. Anthony's Chapel--159]


As he uttered these words, he turned and took the road against the hill,
with a haste that seemed as peremptory as his tone of authority.

Dreading he knew not what of additional misery to a lot which seemed
little capable of receiving augmentation, and desperate at the idea that
any living man should dare to send so extraordinary a request, couched in
terms so imperious, to the half-betrothed object of his early and only
affection, Butler strode hastily towards the cottage, in order to
ascertain how far this daring and rude gallant was actually entitled to
press on Jeanie Deans a request, which no prudent, and scarce any modest
young woman, was likely to comply with.

Butler was by nature neither jealous nor superstitious; yet the feelings
which lead to those moods of the mind were rooted in his heart, as a
portion derived from the common stock of humanity. It was maddening to
think that a profligate gallant, such as the manner and tone of the
stranger evinced him to be, should have it in his power to command forth
his future bride and plighted true love, at a place so improper, and an
hour so unseasonable. Yet the tone in which the stranger spoke had
nothing of the soft half-breathed voice proper to the seducer who
solicits an assignation; it was bold, fierce, and imperative, and had
less of love in it than of menace and intimidation.

The suggestions of superstition seemed more plausible, had Butler's mind
been very accessible to them. Was this indeed the Roaring Lion, who goeth
about seeking whom he may devour? This was a question which pressed
itself on Butler's mind with an earnestness that cannot be conceived by
those who live in the present day. The fiery eye, the abrupt demeanour,
the occasionally harsh, yet studiously subdued tone of voice,--the
features, handsome, but now clouded with pride, now disturbed by
suspicion, now inflamed with passion--those dark hazel eyes which he
sometimes shaded with his cap, as if he were averse to have them seen
while they were occupied with keenly observing the motions and bearing of
others--those eyes that were now turbid with melancholy, now gleaming
with scorn, and now sparkling with fury--was it the passions of a mere
mortal they expressed, or the emotions of a fiend, who seeks, and seeks
in vain, to conceal his fiendish designs under the borrowed mask of manly
beauty? The whole partook of the mien, language, and port of the ruined
archangel; and, imperfectly as we have been able to describe it, the
effect of the interview upon Butler's nerves, shaken as they were at the
time by the horrors of the preceding night, were greater than his
understanding warranted, or his pride cared to submit to. The very place
where he had met this singular person was desecrated, as it were, and
unhallowed, owing to many violent deaths, both in duels and by suicide,
which had in former times taken place there; and the place which he had
named as a rendezvous at so late an hour, was held in general to be
accursed, from a frightful and cruel murder which had been there
committed by the wretch from whom the place took its name, upon the
person of his own wife.*

* Note G. Muschat's Cairn.

It was in such places, according to the belief of that period (when the
laws against witchcraft were still in fresh observance, and had even
lately been acted upon), that evil spirits had power to make themselves
visible to human eyes, and to practise upon the feelings and senses of
mankind. Suspicions, founded on such circumstances, rushed on Butler's
mind, unprepared as it was by any previous course of reasoning, to deny
that which all of his time, country, and profession believed; but common
sense rejected these vain ideas as inconsistent, if not with possibility,
at least with the general rules by which the universe is governed,--a
deviation from which, as Butler well argued with himself, ought not to be
admitted as probable, upon any but the plainest and most incontrovertible
evidence. An earthly lover, however, or a young man, who, from whatever
cause, had the right of exercising such summary and unceremonious
authority over the object of his long-settled, and apparently sincerely
returned affection, was an object scarce less appalling to his mind, than
those which superstition suggested.

His limbs exhausted with fatigue, his mind harassed with anxiety, and
with painful doubts and recollections, Butler dragged himself up the
ascent from the valley to St. Leonard's Crags, and presented himself at
the door of Deans's habitation, with feelings much akin to the miserable
reflections and fears of its inhabitants.



CHAPTER ELEVENTH.


                        Then she stretched out her lily hand,
                        And for to do her best;
                       "Hae back thy faith and troth, Willie,
                        God gie thy soul good rest!"
                                                   Old Ballad.

"Come in," answered the low and sweet-toned voice he loved best to hear,
as Butler tapped at the door of the cottage. He lifted the latch, and
found himself under the roof of affliction. Jeanie was unable to trust
herself with more than one glance towards her lover, whom she now met
under circumstances so agonising to her feelings, and at the same time so
humbling to her honest pride. It is well known, that much, both of what
is good and bad in the Scottish national character, arises out of the
intimacy of their family connections. "To be come of honest folk," that
is, of people who have borne a fair and unstained reputation, is an
advantage as highly prized among the lower Scotch, as the emphatic
counterpart, "to be of a good family," is valued among their gentry. The
worth and respectability of one member of a peasant's family is always
accounted by themselves and others, not only a matter of honest pride,
but a guarantee for the good conduct of the whole. On the contrary, such
a melancholy stain as was now flung on one of the children of Deans,
extended its disgrace to all connected with him, and Jeanie felt herself
lowered at once, in her own eyes, and in those of her lover. It was in
vain that she repressed this feeling, as far subordinate and too selfish
to be mingled with her sorrow for her sister's calamity. Nature
prevailed; and while she shed tears for her sister's distress and danger,
there mingled with them bitter drops of grief for her own degradation.

As Butler entered, the old man was seated by the fire with his well-worn
pocket Bible in his hands, the companion of the wanderings and dangers of
his youth, and bequeathed to him on the scaffold by one of those, who, in
the year 1686, sealed their enthusiastic principles with their blood. The
sun sent its rays through a small window at the old man's back, and,
"shining motty through the reek," to use the expression of a bard of that
time and country, illumined the grey hairs of the old man, and the sacred
page which he studied. His features, far from handsome, and rather harsh
and severe, had yet from their expression of habitual gravity, and
contempt for earthly things, an expression of stoical dignity amidst
their sternness. He boasted, in no small degree, the attributes which
Southey ascribes to the ancient Scandinavians, whom he terms "firm to
inflict, and stubborn to endure." The whole formed a picture, of which
the lights might have been given by Rembrandt, but the outline would have
required the force and vigour of Michael Angelo.

Deans lifted his eye as Butler entered, and instantly withdrew it, as
from an object which gave him at once surprise and sudden pain. He had
assumed such high ground with this carnal-witted scholar, as he had in
his pride termed Butler, that to meet him, of all men, under feelings of
humiliation, aggravated his misfortune, and was a consummation like that
of the dying chief in the old ballad--"Earl Percy sees my fall!"

Deans raised the Bible with his left hand, so as partly to screen his
face, and putting back his right as far as he could, held it towards
Butler in that position, at the same time turning his body from, him, as
if to prevent his seeing the working of his countenance. Butler clasped
the extended hand which had supported his orphan infancy, wept over it,
and in vain endeavoured to say more than the words--"God comfort you--God
comfort you!"

"He will--he doth, my friend," said Deans, assuming firmness as he
discovered the agitation of his guest; "he doth now, and he will yet more
in his own gude time. I have been ower proud of my sufferings in a gude
cause, Reuben, and now I am to be tried with those whilk will turn my
pride and glory into a reproach and a hissing. How muckle better I hae
thought mysell than them that lay saft, fed sweet, and drank deep, when I
was in the moss-haggs and moors, wi' precious Donald Cameron, and worthy
Mr. Blackadder, called Guess-again; and how proud I was o' being made a
spectacle to men and angels, having stood on their pillory at the
Canongate afore I was fifteen years old, for the cause of a National
Covenant! To think, Reuben, that I, wha hae been sae honoured and exalted
in my youth, nay, when I was but a hafflins callant, and that hae borne
testimony again the defections o' the times yearly, monthly, daily,
hourly, minutely, striving and testifying with uplifted hand and voice,
crying aloud, and sparing not, against all great national snares, as the
nation-wasting and church-sinking abomination of union, toleration, and
patronage, imposed by the last woman of that unhappy race of Stuarts;
also against the infringements and invasions of the just powers of
eldership, whereanent, I uttered my paper, called a 'Cry of an Howl in
the Desert,' printed at the Bow-head, and sold by all flying stationers
in town and country--and _now_--"

Here he paused. It may well be supposed that Butler, though not
absolutely coinciding in all the good old man's ideas about church
government, had too much consideration and humanity to interrupt him,
while he reckoned up with conscious pride his sufferings, and the
constancy of his testimony. On the contrary, when he paused under the
influence of the bitter recollections of the moment, Butler instantly
threw in his mite of encouragement.

"You have been well known, my old and revered friend, a true and tried
follower of the Cross; one who, as Saint Jerome hath it, '_per infamiam
et bonam famam grassari ad immortalitatem,_' which may be freely
rendered, 'who rusheth on to immortal life, through bad report and good
report.' You have been one of those to whom the tender and fearful
souls cry during the midnight solitude--'Watchman, what of the
night?--Watchman, what of the night?'--And, assuredly, this heavy
dispensation, as it comes not without divine permission, so it comes
not without its special commission and use."

"I do receive it as such," said poor Deans, returning the grasp of
Butler's hand; "and if I have not been taught to read the Scripture in
any other tongue but my native Scottish" (even in his distress Butler's
Latin quotation had not escaped his notice), "I have nevertheless so
learned them, that I trust to bear even this crook in my lot with
submission. But, oh! Reuben Butler, the kirk, of whilk, though unworthy,
I have yet been thought a polished shaft, and meet to be a pillar,
holding, from my youth upward, the place of ruling elder--what will the
lightsome and profane think of the guide that cannot keep his own family
from stumbling? How will they take up their song and their reproach, when
they see that the children of professors are liable to as foul
backsliding as the offspring of Belial! But I will bear my cross with the
comfort, that whatever showed like goodness in me or mine, was but like
the light that shines frae creeping insects, on the brae-side, in a dark
night--it kythes bright to the ee, because all is dark around it; but
when the morn comes on the mountains, it is, but a puir crawling
kail-worm after a'. And sae it shows, wi' ony rag of human righteousness,
or formal law-work, that we may pit round us to cover our shame."

As he pronounced these words, the door again opened, and Mr. Bartoline
Saddletree entered, his three-pointed hat set far back on his head, with
a silk handkerchief beneath it to keep it in that cool position, his
gold-headed cane in his hand, and his whole deportment that of a wealthy
burgher, who might one day look to have a share in the magistracy, if not
actually to hold the curule chair itself.

Rochefoucault, who has torn the veil from so many foul gangrenes of the
human heart, says, we find something not altogether unpleasant to us in
the misfortunes of our best friends. Mr. Saddletree would have been very
angry had any one told him that he felt pleasure in the disaster of poor
Effie Deans, and the disgrace of her family; and yet there is great
question whether the gratification of playing the person of importance,
inquiring, investigating, and laying down the law on the whole affair,
did not offer, to say the least, full consolation for the pain which pure
sympathy gave him on account of his wife's kinswoman. He had now got a
piece of real judicial business by the end, instead of being obliged, as
was his common case, to intrude his opinion where it was neither wished
nor wanted; and felt as happy in the exchange as a boy when he gets his
first new watch, which actually goes when wound up, and has real hands
and a true dial-plate. But besides this subject for legal disquisition,
Bartoline's brains were also overloaded with the affair of Porteous, his
violent death, and all its probable consequences to the city and
community. It was what the French call _l'embarras des richesses,_ the
confusion arising from too much mental wealth. He walked in with a
consciousness of double importance, full fraught with the superiority of
one who possesses more information than the company into which he enters,
and who feels a right to discharge his learning on them without mercy.
"Good morning, Mr. Deans,--good-morrow to you, Mr. Butler,--I was not
aware that you were acquainted with Mr. Deans."

Butler made some slight answer; his reasons may be readily imagined for
not making his connection with the family, which, in his eyes, had
something of tender mystery, a frequent subject of conversation with
indifferent persons, such as Saddletree.

The worthy burgher, in the plenitude of self-importance, now sate down
upon a chair, wiped his brow, collected his breath, and made the first
experiment of the resolved pith of his lungs, in a deep and dignified
sigh, resembling a groan in sound and intonation--"Awfu' times these,
neighbour Deans, awfu' times!"

"Sinfu', shamefu', heaven-daring times!" answered Deans, in a lower and
more subdued tone.

"For my part," continued Saddletree, swelling with importance, "what
between the distress of my friends, and my poor auld country, ony wit
that ever I had may be said to have abandoned me, sae that I sometimes
think myself as ignorant as if I were _inter rusticos._ Here when I arise
in the morning, wi' my mind just arranged touching what's to be done in
puir Effie's misfortune, and hae gotten the haill statute at my
finger-ends, the mob maun get up and string Jock Porteous to a dyester's
beam, and ding a' thing out of my head again."

Deeply as he was distressed with his own domestic calamity, Deans could
not help expressing some interest in the news. Saddletree immediately
entered on details of the insurrection and its consequences, while Butler
took the occasion to seek some private conversation with Jeanie Deans.
She gave him the opportunity he sought, by leaving the room, as if in
prosecution of some part of her morning labour. Butler followed her in a
few minutes, leaving Deans so closely engaged by his busy visitor, that
there was little chance of his observing their absence.

The scene of their interview was an outer apartment, where Jeanie was
used to busy herself in arranging the productions of her dairy. When
Butler found an opportunity of stealing after her into this place, he
found her silent, dejected, and ready to burst into tears. Instead of the
active industry with which she had been accustomed, even while in the act
of speaking, to employ her hands in some useful branch of household
business, she was seated listless in a corner, sinking apparently under
the weight of her own thoughts. Yet the instant he entered, she dried her
eyes, and, with the simplicity and openness of her character, immediately
entered on conversation.

"I am glad you have come in, Mr. Butler," said she, "for--for--for I
wished to tell ye, that all maun be ended between you and me--it's best
for baith our sakes."

"Ended!" said Butler, in surprise; "and for what should it be ended?--I
grant this is a heavy dispensation, but it lies neither at your door nor
mine--it's an evil of God's sending, and it must be borne; but it cannot
break plighted troth, Jeanie, while they that plighted their word wish to
keep it."

"But, Reuben," said the young woman, looking at him affectionately, "I
ken weel that ye think mair of me than yourself; and, Reuben, I can only
in requital think mair of your weal than of my ain. Ye are a man of
spotless name, bred to God's ministry, and a' men say that ye will some
day rise high in the kirk, though poverty keep ye doun e'en now. Poverty
is a bad back-friend, Reuben, and that ye ken ower weel; but ill-fame is
a waur ane, and that is a truth ye sall never learn through my means."

"What do you mean?" said Butler, eagerly and impatiently; "or how do you
connect your sister's guilt, if guilt there be, which, I trust in God,
may yet be disproved, with our engagement?--how can that affect you or
me?"

"How can you ask me that, Mr. Butler? Will this stain, d'ye think, ever
be forgotten, as lang as our heads are abune the grund? Will it not stick
to us, and to our bairns, and to their very bairns' bairns? To hae been
the child of an honest man, might hae been saying something for me and
mine; but to be the sister of a--O my God!"--With this exclamation her
resolution failed, and she burst into a passionate fit of tears.

The lover used every effort to induce her to compose herself, and at
length succeeded; but she only resumed her composure to express herself
with the same positiveness as before. "No, Reuben, I'll bring disgrace
hame to nae man's hearth; my ain distresses I can bear, and I maun bear,
but there is nae occasion for buckling them on other folk's shouthers. I
will bear my load alone--the back is made for the burden."

A lover is by charter wayward and suspicious; and Jeanie's readiness to
renounce their engagement, under pretence of zeal for his peace of mind
and respectability of character, seemed to poor Butler to form a
portentous combination with the commission of the stranger he had met
with that morning. His voice faltered as he asked, "whether nothing but a
sense of her sister's present distress occasioned her to talk in that
manner?"

"And what else can do sae?" she replied with simplicity. "Is it not ten
long years since we spoke together in this way?"

"Ten years!" said Butler. "It's a long time--sufficient perhaps for a
woman to weary."

"To weary of her auld gown," said Jeanie, "and to wish for a new ane if
she likes to be brave, but not long enough to weary of a friend--The eye
may wish change, but the heart never."

"Never!" said Reuben,--"that's a bold promise."

"But not more bauld than true," said Jeanie, with the same quiet
simplicity which attended her manner in joy and grief in ordinary
affairs, and in those which most interested her feelings.

Butler paused, and looking at her fixedly--"I am charged," he said, "with
a message to you, Jeanie."

"Indeed! From whom? Or what can ony ane have to say to me?"

"It is from a stranger," said Butler, affecting to speak with an
indifference which his voice belied--"A young man whom I met this morning
in the Park."

"Mercy!" said Jeanie, eagerly; "and what did he say?"

"That he did not see you at the hour he expected, but required you should
meet him alone at Muschat's Cairn this night, so soon as the moon rises."

"Tell him," said Jeanie, hastily, "I shall certainly come."

"May I ask," said Butler, his suspicions increasing at the ready alacrity
of the answer, "who this man is to whom you are so willing to give the
meeting at a place and hour so uncommon?"

"Folk maun do muckle they have little will to do, in this world," replied
Jeanie.

"Granted," said her lover; "but what compels you to this?--who is this
person? What I saw of him was not very favourable--who, or what is he?"

"I do not know," replied Jeanie, composedly.

"You do not know!" said Butler, stepping impatiently through the
apartment--"You purpose to meet a young man whom you do not know, at
such a time, and in a place so lonely--you say you are compelled to do
this--and yet you say you do not know the person who exercises such an
influence over you!--Jeanie, what am I to think of this?"

"Think only, Reuben, that I speak truth, as if I were to answer at the
last day.--I do not ken this man--I do not even ken that I ever saw him;
and yet I must give him the meeting he asks--there's life and death upon
it."

"Will you not tell your father, or take him with you?" said Butler.

"I cannot," said Jeanie; "I have no permission."

"Will you let _me_ go with you? I will wait in the Park till nightfall,
and join you when you set out."

"It is impossible," said Jeanie; "there maunna be mortal creature within
hearing of our conference."

"Have you considered well the nature of what you are going to do?--the
time--the place--an unknown and suspicious character?--Why, if he had
asked to see you in this house, your father sitting in the next room, and
within call, at such an hour, you should have refused to see him."

"My weird maun be fulfilled, Mr. Butler; my life and my safety are in
God's hands, but I'll not spare to risk either of them on the errand I am
gaun to do."

"Then, Jeanie," said Butler, much displeased, "we must indeed break short
off, and bid farewell. When there can be no confidence betwixt a man and
his plighted wife on such a momentous topic, it is a sign that she has no
longer the regard for him that makes their engagement safe and suitable."

Jeanie looked at him and sighed. "I thought," she said, "that I had
brought myself to bear this parting--but--but--I did not ken that we were
to part in unkindness. But I am a woman and you are a man--it may be
different wi' you--if your mind is made easier by thinking sae hardly of
me, I would not ask you to think otherwise."

"You are," said Butler, "what you have always been--wiser, better, and
less selfish in your native feelings, than I can be, with all the helps
philosophy can give to a Christian--But why--why will you persevere in an
undertaking so desperate? Why will you not let me be your assistant--your
protector, or at least your adviser?"

"Just because I cannot, and I dare not," answered Jeanie.--"But hark,
what's that? Surely my father is no weel?"

In fact, the voices in the next room became obstreperously loud of a
sudden, the cause of which vociferation it is necessary to explain before
we go farther.

When Jeanie and Butler retired, Mr. Saddletree entered upon the business
which chiefly interested the family. In the commencement of their
conversation he found old Deans, who in his usual state of mind, was no
granter of propositions, so much subdued by a deep sense of his
daughter's danger and disgrace, that he heard without replying to, or
perhaps without understanding, one or two learned disquisitions on the
nature of the crime imputed to her charge, and on the steps which ought
to be taken in consequence. His only answer at each pause was, "I am no
misdoubting that you wuss us weel--your wife's our far-awa cousin."

Encouraged by these symptoms of acquiescence, Saddletree, who, as an
amateur of the law, had a supreme deference for all constituted
authorities, again recurred to his other topic of interest, the murder,
namely, of Porteous, and pronounced a severe censure on the parties
concerned.

"These are kittle times--kittle times, Mr. Deans, when the people take
the power of life and death out of the hands of the rightful magistrate
into their ain rough grip. I am of opinion, and so I believe will Mr.
Crossmyloof and the Privy Council, that this rising in effeir of war, to
take away the life of a reprieved man, will prove little better than
perduellion."

"If I hadna that on my mind whilk is ill to bear, Mr. Saddletree," said
Deans, "I wad make bold to dispute that point wi' you."

"How could you dispute what's plain law, man?" said Saddletree, somewhat
contemptuously; "there's no a callant that e'er carried a pock wi' a
process in't, but will tell you that perduellion is the warst and maist
virulent kind of treason, being an open convocating of the king's lieges
against his authority (mair especially in arms, and by touk of drum, to
baith whilk accessories my een and lugs bore witness), and muckle worse
than lese-majesty, or the concealment of a treasonable purpose--It winna
bear a dispute, neighbour."

"But it will, though," retorted Douce Davie Deans; "I tell ye it will
bear a disputer never like your cauld, legal, formal doctrines, neighbour
Saddletree. I haud unco little by the Parliament House, since the awfu'
downfall of the hopes of honest folk that followed the Revolution."

"But what wad ye hae had, Mr. Deans?" said Saddletree, impatiently;
"didna ye get baith liberty and conscience made fast, and settled by
tailzie on you and your heirs for ever?"

"Mr. Saddletree," retorted Deans, "I ken ye are one of those that are
wise after the manner of this world, and that ye hand your part, and cast
in your portion, wi' the lang heads and lang gowns, and keep with the
smart witty-pated lawyers of this our land--Weary on the dark and dolefu'
cast that they hae gien this unhappy kingdom, when their black hands of
defection were clasped in the red hands of our sworn murtherers: when
those who had numbered the towers of our Zion, and marked the bulwarks of
Reformation, saw their hope turn into a snare, and their rejoicing into
weeping."

"I canna understand this, neighbour," answered Saddletree. "I am an
honest Presbyterian of the Kirk of Scotland, and stand by her and the
General Assembly, and the due administration of justice by the fifteen
Lords o' Session and the five Lords o' Justiciary."

"Out upon ye, Mr. Saddletree!" exclaimed David, who, in an opportunity of
giving his testimony on the offences and backslidings of the land, forgot
for a moment his own domestic calamity--"out upon your General Assembly,
and the back of my hand to your Court o' Session!--What is the tane but a
waefu' bunch o' cauldrife professors and ministers, that sate bien and
warm when the persecuted remnant were warstling wi' hunger, and cauld,
and fear of death, and danger of fire and sword upon wet brae-sides,
peat-haggs, and flow-mosses, and that now creep out of their holes, like
bluebottle flees in a blink of sunshine, to take the pu'pits and places
of better folk--of them that witnessed, and testified, and fought, and
endured pit, prison-house, and transportation beyond seas?--A bonny bike
there's o' them!--And for your Court o' Session--"

"Ye may say what ye will o' the General Assembly," said Saddletree,
interrupting him, "and let them clear them that kens them; but as for the
Lords o' Session, forby that they are my next-door neighbours, I would
have ye ken, for your ain regulation, that to raise scandal anent them,
whilk is termed to _murmur_ again them, is a crime _sui generis,_--_sui
generis,_ Mr. Deans--ken ye what that amounts to?"

"I ken little o' the language of Antichrist," said Deans; "and I care
less than little what carnal courts may call the speeches of honest men.
And as to murmur again them, it's what a' the folk that loses their
pleas, and nine-tenths o' them that win them, will be gey sure to be
guilty in. Sae I wad hae ye ken that I hand a' your gleg-tongued
advocates, that sell their knowledge for pieces of silver--and your
worldly-wise judges, that will gie three days of hearing in presence to a
debate about the peeling of an ingan, and no ae half-hour to the gospel
testimony--as legalists and formalists, countenancing by sentences, and
quirks, and cunning terms of law, the late begun courses of national
defections--union, toleration, patronages, and Yerastian prelatic oaths.
As for the soul and body-killing Court o' Justiciary--"

The habit of considering his life as dedicated to bear testimony in
behalf of what he deemed the suffering and deserted cause of true
religion, had swept honest David along with it thus far; but with the
mention of the criminal court, the recollection of the disastrous
condition of his daughter rushed at once on his mind; he stopped short in
the midst of his triumphant declamation, pressed his hands against his
forehead, and remained silent.

Saddletree was somewhat moved, but apparently not so much so as to induce
him to relinquish the privilege of prosing in his turn afforded him by
David's sudden silence. "Nae doubt, neighbour," he said, "it's a sair
thing to hae to do wi' courts of law, unless it be to improve ane's
knowledge and practique, by waiting on as a hearer; and touching this
unhappy affair of Effie--ye'll hae seen the dittay, doubtless?" He dragged
out of his pocket a bundle of papers, and began to turn them over. "This
is no it--this is the information of Mungo Marsport, of that ilk, against
Captain Lackland, for coming on his lands of Marsport with hawks, hounds,
lying-dogs, nets, guns, cross-bows, hagbuts of found, or other engines
more or less for destruction of game, sic as red-deer, fallow-deer,
cappercailzies, grey-fowl, moor-fowl, paitricks, herons, and sic like;
he, the said defender not being ane qualified person, in terms of the
statute sixteen hundred and twenty-ane; that is, not having ane
plough-gate of land. Now, the defences proponed say, that _non constat_
at this present what is a plough-gate of land, whilk uncertainty is
sufficient to elide the conclusions of the libel. But then the answers to
the defences (they are signed by Mr. Crossmyloof, but Mr. Younglad drew
them), they propone, that it signifies naething, _in hoc statu,_ what or
how muckle a plough-gate of land may be, in respect the defender has nae
lands whatsoever, less or mair. 'Sae grant a plough-gate'" (here
Saddletree read from the paper in his hand) "'to be less than the
nineteenth part of a guse's grass'--(I trow Mr. Crossmyloof put in
that--I ken his style),--'of a guse's grass, what the better
will the defender be, seeing he hasna a divot-cast of land in
Scotland?--_Advocatus_ for Lackland duplies, that _nihil interest de
possessione,_ the pursuer must put his case under the statute'--(now,
this is worth your notice, neighbour),--'and must show, _formaliter et
specialiter,_ as well as _generaliter,_ what is the qualification that
defender Lackland does _not_ possess--let him tell me what a plough-gate
of land is, and I'll tell him if I have one or no. Surely the pursuer is
bound to understand his own libel, and his own statute that he founds
upon. _Titius_ pursues _Maevius_ for recovery of ane _black_ horse lent
to Maevius--surely he shall have judgment; but if Titius pursue Maevius
for ane _scarlet_ or _crimson_ horse, doubtless he shall be bound to
show that there is sic ane animal _in rerum natura._ No man can be bound
to plead to nonsense--that is to say, to a charge which cannot be
explained or understood'--(he's wrang there--the better the pleadings
the fewer understand them),--'and so the reference unto this undefined
and unintelligible measure of land is, as if a penalty was inflicted by
statute for any man who suld hunt or hawk, or use lying-dogs, and
wearing a sky-blue pair of breeches, without having--'But I am wearying
you, Mr. Deans,--we'll pass to your ain business,--though this cue of
Marsport against Lackland has made an unco din in the Outer House. Weel,
here's the dittay against puir Effie: 'Whereas it is humbly meant and
shown to us,' etc. (they are words of mere style), 'that whereas, by the
laws of this and every other well-regulated realm, the murder of any
one, more especially of an infant child, is a crime of ane high nature,
and severely punishable: And whereas, without prejudice to the foresaid
generality, it was, by ane act made in the second session of the First
Parliament of our most High and Dread Sovereigns William and Mary,
especially enacted, that ane woman who shall have concealed her
condition, and shall not be able to show that she hath called for help
at the birth in case that the child shall be found dead or amissing,
shall be deemed and held guilty of the murder thereof; and the said
facts of concealment and pregnancy being found proven or confessed,
shall sustain the pains of law accordingly; yet, nevertheless, you,
Effie, or Euphemia Deans--'"

"Read no farther!" said Deans, raising his head up; "I would rather ye
thrust a sword into my heart than read a word farther!"

"Weel, neighbour," said Saddletree, "I thought it wad hae comforted ye to
ken the best and the warst o't. But the question is, what's to be dune?"

"Nothing," answered Deans firmly, "but to abide the dispensation that the
Lord sees meet to send us. Oh, if it had been His will to take the grey
head to rest before this awful visitation on my house and name! But His
will be done. I can say that yet, though I can say little mair."

"But, neighbour," said Saddletree, "ye'll retain advocates for the puir
lassie? it's a thing maun needs be thought of."

"If there was ae man of them," answered Deans, "that held fast his
integrity--but I ken them weel, they are a' carnal, crafty, and
warld-hunting self-seekers, Yerastians, and Arminians, every ane o'
them."

"Hout tout, neighbour, ye mauna take the warld at its word," said
Saddletree; "the very deil is no sae ill as he's ca'd; and I ken mair
than ae advocate that may be said to hae some integrity as weel as their
neighbours; that is, after a sort o' fashion' o' their ain."

"It is indeed but a fashion of integrity that ye will find amang them,"
replied David Deans, "and a fashion of wisdom, and fashion of carnal
learning--gazing, glancing-glasses they are, fit only to fling the glaiks
in folk's een, wi' their pawky policy, and earthly ingine, their flights
and refinements, and periods of eloquence, frae heathen emperors and
popish canons. They canna, in that daft trash ye were reading to me, sae
muckle as ca' men that are sae ill-starred as to be amang their hands, by
ony name o' the dispensation o' grace, but maun new baptize them by the
names of the accursed Titus, wha was made the instrument of burning the
holy Temple, and other sic like heathens!"

"It's Tishius," interrupted Saddletree, "and no Titus. Mr. Crossmyloof
cares as little about Titus or the Latin as ye do.--But it's a case
of necessity--she maun hae counsel. Now, I could speak to Mr.
Crossmyloof--he's weel ken'd for a round-spun Presbyterian, and
a ruling elder to boot."

"He's a rank Yerastian," replied Deans; "one of the public and
polititious warldly-wise men that stude up to prevent ane general owning
of the cause in the day of power!"

"What say ye to the auld Laird of Cuffabout?" said Saddletree; "he whiles
thumps the dust out of a case gey and well."

"He? the fause loon!" answered Deans--"he was in his bandaliers to hae
joined the ungracious Highlanders in 1715, an they had ever had the luck
to cross the Firth."

"Weel, Arniston? there's a clever chield for ye!" said Bartoline,
triumphantly.

"Ay, to bring popish medals in till their very library from that
schismatic woman in the north, the Duchess of Gordon."*

* [James Dundas younger of Arniston was tried in the year 1711 upon
charge of leasing-making, in having presented, from the Duchess of
Gordon, medal of the Pretender, for the purpose, it was said, of
affronting Queen Anne.]

 "Weel, weel, but somebody ye maun hae--What think ye o' Kittlepunt?"

"He's an Arminian."

"Woodsetter?"

"He's, I doubt, a Cocceian."

"Auld Whilliewhaw?"

"He's ony thing ye like."

"Young Naemmo?"

"He's naething at a'."

"Ye're ill to please, neighbour," said Saddletree: "I hae run ower the
pick o' them for you, ye maun e'en choose for yoursell; but bethink ye
that in the multitude of counsellors there's safety--What say ye to try
young Mackenyie? he has a' his uncle's Practiques at the tongue's end."

"What, sir, wad ye speak to me," exclaimed the sturdy Presbyterian in
excessive wrath, "about a man that has the blood of the saints at his
fingers' ends? Did na his eme [Uncle] die and gang to his place wi' the
name of the Bluidy Mackenyie? and winna he be kend by that name sae lang
as there's a Scots tongue to speak the word? If the life of the dear
bairn that's under a suffering dispensation, and Jeanie's, and my ain,
and a' mankind's, depended on my asking sic a slave o' Satan to speak a
word for me or them, they should a' gae doun the water thegither for
Davie Deans!"

It was the exalted tone in which he spoke this last sentence that broke
up the conversation between Butler and Jeanie, and brought them both "ben
the house," to use the language of the country. Here they found the poor
old man half frantic between grief and zealous ire against Saddletree's
proposed measures, his cheek inflamed, his hand clenched, and his voice
raised, while the tear in his eye, and the occasional quiver of his
accents, showed that his utmost efforts were inadequate to shaking off
the consciousness of his misery. Butler, apprehensive of the consequences
of his agitation to an aged and feeble frame, ventured to utter to him a
recommendation to patience.

"I _am_ patient," returned the old man sternly,--"more patient than any
one who is alive to the woeful backslidings of a miserable time can be
patient; and in so much, that I need neither sectarians, nor sons nor
grandsons of sectarians, to instruct my grey hairs how to bear my cross."

"But, sir," continued Butler, taking no offence at the slur cast on his
grandfather's faith, "we must use human means. When you call in a
physician, you would not, I suppose, question him on the nature of his
religious principles!"

"Wad I _no?_" answered David--"but I wad, though; and if he didna satisfy
me that he had a right sense of the right hand and left hand defections
of the day, not a goutte of his physic should gang through my father's
son."

It is a dangerous thing to trust to an illustration. Butler had done so
and miscarried; but, like a gallant soldier when his musket misses fire,
he stood his ground, and charged with the bayonet.--"This is too rigid an
interpretation of your duty, sir. The sun shines, and the rain descends,
on the just and unjust, and they are placed together in life in
circumstances which frequently render intercourse between them
indispensable, perhaps that the evil may have an opportunity of being
converted by the good, and perhaps, also, that the righteous might, among
other trials, be subjected to that of occasional converse with the
profane."

"Ye're a silly callant, Reuben," answered Deans, "with your bits of
argument. Can a man touch pitch and not be defiled? Or what think ye of
the brave and worthy champions of the Covenant, that wadna sae muckle as
hear a minister speak, be his gifts and graces as they would, that hadna
witnessed against the enormities of the day? Nae lawyer shall ever speak
for me and mine that hasna concurred in the testimony of the scattered,
yet lovely remnant, which abode in the clifts of the rocks."

So saying, and as if fatigued, both with the arguments and presence of
his guests, the old man arose, and seeming to bid them adieu with a
motion of his head and hand, went to shut himself up in his sleeping
apartment.

"It's thrawing his daughter's life awa," said Saddletree to Butler, "to
hear him speak in that daft gate. Where will he ever get a Cameronian
advocate? Or wha ever heard of a lawyer's suffering either for ae
religion or another? The lassie's life is clean flung awa."

During the latter part of this debate, Dumbiedikes had arrived at the
door, dismounted, hung the pony's bridle on the usual hook, and sunk down
on his ordinary settle. His eyes, with more than their usual animation,
followed first one speaker then another, till he caught the melancholy
sense of the whole from Saddletree's last words. He rose from his seat,
stumped slowly across the room, and, coming close up to Saddletree's ear,
said in a tremulous anxious voice, "Will--will siller do naething for
them, Mr. Saddletree?"

"Umph!" said Saddletree, looking grave,--"siller will certainly do it in
the Parliament House, if ony thing _can_ do it; but where's the siller to
come frae? Mr. Deans, ye see, will do naething; and though Mrs.
Saddletree's their far-awa friend, and right good weel-wisher, and is
weel disposed to assist, yet she wadna like to stand to be bound _singuli
in solidum_ to such an expensive wark. An ilka friend wad bear a share o'
the burden, something might be dune--ilka ane to be liable for their ain
input--I wadna like to see the case fa' through without being pled--it
wadna be creditable, for a' that daft whig body says."

"I'll--I will--yes" (assuming fortitude), "I will be answerable," said
Dumbiedikes, "for a score of punds sterling."--And he was silent, staring
in astonishment at finding himself capable of such unwonted resolution
and excessive generosity.

"God Almighty bless ye, Laird!" said Jeanie, in a transport of gratitude.

"Ye may ca' the twenty punds thretty," said Dumbiedikes, looking
bashfully away from her, and towards Saddletree.

"That will do bravely," said Saddletree, rubbing his hands; "and ye sall
hae a' my skill and knowledge to gar the siller gang far--I'll tape it
out weel--I ken how to gar the birkies tak short fees, and be glad o'
them too--it's only garring them trow ye hae twa or three cases of
importance coming on, and they'll work cheap to get custom. Let me alane
for whilly-whaing an advocate:--it's nae sin to get as muckle flue them
for our siller as we can--after a', it's but the wind o' their mouth--it
costs them naething; whereas, in my wretched occupation of a saddler,
horse milliner, and harness maker, we are out unconscionable sums just
for barkened hides and leather."

"Can I be of no use?" said Butler. "My means, alas! are only worth the
black coat I wear; but I am young--I owe much to the family--Can I do
nothing?"

"Ye can help to collect evidence, sir," said Saddletree; "if we could but
find ony ane to say she had gien the least hint o' her condition, she wad
be brought aft wi' a wat finger--Mr. Crossmyloof tell'd me sae. The
crown, says he, canna be craved to prove a positive--was't a positive or
a negative they couldna be ca'd to prove?--it was the tane or the tither
o' them, I am sure, and it maksna muckle matter whilk. Wherefore, says
he, the libel maun be redargued by the panel proving her defences. And it
canna be done otherwise."

"But the fact, sir," argued Butler, "the fact that this poor girl has
borne a child; surely the crown lawyers must prove that?" said Butler.

Saddletree paused a moment, while the visage of Dumbiedikes, which
traversed, as if it had been placed on a pivot, from the one spokesman to
the other, assumed a more blithe expression.

"Ye--ye--ye--es," said Saddletree, after some grave hesitation;
"unquestionably that is a thing to be proved, as the court will more
fully declare by an interlocutor of relevancy in common form; but I fancy
that job's done already, for she has confessed her guilt."

"Confessed the murder?" exclaimed Jeanie, with a scream that made them
all start.

"No, I didna say that," replied Bartoline. "But she confessed bearing the
babe."

"And what became of it, then?" said Jeanie, "for not a word could I get
from her but bitter sighs and tears."

"She says it was taken away from her by the woman in whose house it was
born, and who assisted her at the time."

"And who was that woman?" said Butler. "Surely by her means the truth
might be discovered.--Who was she? I will fly to her directly."

"I wish," said Dumbiedikes, "I were as young and as supple as you, and
had the gift of the gab as weel."

"Who is she?" again reiterated Butler impatiently.--"Who could that woman
be?"

"Ay, wha kens that but herself?" said Saddletree; "she deponed farther,
and declined to answer that interrogatory."

"Then to herself will I instantly go," said Butler; "farewell, Jeanie;"
then coming close up to her--"Take no _rash steps_ till you hear from me.
Farewell!" and he immediately left the cottage.

"I wad gang too," said the landed proprietor, in an anxious, jealous, and
repining tone, "but my powny winna for the life o' me gang ony other road
than just frae Dumbiedikes to this house-end, and sae straight back
again."

"Yell do better for them," said Saddletree, as they left the house
together, "by sending me the thretty punds."

"Thretty punds!" hesitated Dumbiedikes, who was now out of the reach of
those eyes which had inflamed his generosity; "I only said _twenty_
punds."

"Ay; but," said Saddletree, "that was under protestation to add and eik;
and so ye craved leave to amend your libel, and made it thretty."

"Did I? I dinna mind that I did," answered Dumbiedikes. "But whatever I
said I'll stand to." Then bestriding his steed with some difficulty, he
added, "Dinna ye think poor Jeanie's een wi' the tears in them glanced
like lamour beads, Mr. Saddletree?"

"I kenna muckle about women's een, Laird," replied the insensible
Bartoline; "and I care just as little. I wuss I were as weel free o'
their tongues; though few wives," he added, recollecting the necessity of
keeping up his character for domestic rule, "are under better command
than mine, Laird. I allow neither perduellion nor lese-majesty against my
sovereign authority."

The Laird saw nothing so important in this observation as to call for a
rejoinder, and when they had exchanged a mute salutation, they parted in
peace upon their different errands.



CHAPTER TWELFTH.


                I'll warrant that fellow from drowning,
                were the ship no stronger than a nut-shell.

                                           The Tempest.

Butler felt neither fatigue nor want of refreshment, although, from the
mode in which he had spent the night, he might well have been overcome
with either. But in the earnestness with which he hastened to the
assistance of the sister of Jeanie Deans, he forgot both.

In his first progress he walked with so rapid a pace as almost approached
to running, when he was surprised to hear behind him a call upon his
name, contending with an asthmatic cough, and half-drowned amid the
resounding trot of a Highland pony. He looked behind, and saw the Laird
of Dumbiedikes making after him with what speed he might, for it
happened, fortunately for the Laird's purpose of conversing with Butler,
that his own road homeward was for about two hundred yards the same with
that which led by the nearest way to the city. Butler stopped when he
heard himself thus summoned, internally wishing no good to the panting
equestrian who thus retarded his journey.

"Uh! uh! uh!" ejaculated Dumbiedikes, as he checked the hobbling pace of
the pony by our friend Butler. "Uh! uh! it's a hard-set willyard beast
this o' mine." He had in fact just overtaken the object of his chase at
the very point beyond which it would have been absolutely impossible for
him to have continued the pursuit, since there Butler's road parted from
that leading to Dumbiedikes, and no means of influence or compulsion
which the rider could possibly have used towards his Bucephalus could
have induced the Celtic obstinacy of Rory Bean (such was the pony's name)
to have diverged a yard from the path that conducted him to his own
paddock.

Even when he had recovered from the shortness of breath occasioned by a
trot much more rapid than Rory or he were accustomed to, the high purpose
of Dumbiedikes seemed to stick as it were in his throat, and impede his
utterance, so that Butler stood for nearly three minutes ere he could
utter a syllable; and when he did find voice, it was only to say, after
one or two efforts, "Uh! uh! uhm! I say, Mr.--Mr. Butler, it's a braw day
for the har'st."

"Fine day, indeed," said Butler. "I wish you good morning, sir."

"Stay--stay a bit," rejoined Dumbiedikes; "that was no what I had gotten
to say."

"Then, pray be quick, and let me have your commands," rejoined Butler; "I
crave your pardon, but I am in haste, and _Tempus nemini_--you know the
proverb."

Dumbiedikes did not know the proverb, nor did he even take the trouble to
endeavour to look as if he did, as others in his place might have done.
He was concentrating all his intellects for one grand proposition, and
could not afford any detachment to defend outposts. "I say, Mr. Butler,"
said he, "ken ye if Mr. Saddletree's a great lawyer?"

"I have no person's word for it but his own," answered Butler, drily;
"but undoubtedly he best understands his own qualities."

"Umph!" replied the taciturn Dumbiedikes, in a tone which seemed to say,
"Mr. Butler, I take your meaning." "In that case," he pursued, "I'll
employ my ain man o' business, Nichil Novit (auld Nichil's son, and
amaist as gleg as his father), to agent Effie's plea."

And having thus displayed more sagacity than Butler expected from him, he
courteously touched his gold-laced cocked hat, and by a punch on the
ribs, conveyed to Rory Bean, it was his rider's pleasure that he should
forthwith proceed homewards; a hint which the quadruped obeyed with that
degree of alacrity with which men and animals interpret and obey
suggestions that entirely correspond with their own inclinations.

Butler resumed his pace, not without a momentary revival of that jealousy
which the honest Laird's attention to the family of Deans had at
different times excited in his bosom. But he was too generous long to
nurse any feeling which was allied to selfishness. "He is," said Butler
to himself, "rich in what I want; why should I feel vexed that he has the
heart to dedicate some of his pelf to render them services, which I can
only form the empty wish of executing? In God's name, let us each do what
we can. May she be but happy!--saved from the misery and disgrace that
seems impending--Let me but find the means of preventing the fearful
experiment of this evening, and farewell to other thoughts, though my
heart-strings break in parting with them!"

He redoubled his pace, and soon stood before the door of the Tolbooth, or
rather before the entrance where the door had formerly been placed. His
interview with the mysterious stranger, the message to Jeanie, his
agitating conversation with her on the subject of breaking off their
mutual engagements, and the interesting scene with old Deans, had so
entirely occupied his mind as to drown even recollection of the tragical
event which he had witnessed the preceding evening. His attention was not
recalled to it by the groups who stood scattered on the street in
conversation, which they hushed when strangers approached, or by the
bustling search of the agents of the city police, supported by small
parties of the military, or by the appearance of the Guard-House, before
which were treble sentinels, or, finally, by the subdued and intimidated
looks of the lower orders of society, who, conscious that they were
liable to suspicion, if they were not guilty of accession to a riot
likely to be strictly inquired into, glided about with an humble and
dismayed aspect, like men whose spirits being exhausted in the revel and
the dangers of a desperate debauch over-night, are nerve-shaken,
timorous, and unenterprising on the succeeding day.

None of these symptoms of alarm and trepidation struck Butler, whose mind
was occupied with a different, and to him still more interesting subject,
until he stood before the entrance to the prison, and saw it defended by
a double file of grenadiers, instead of bolts and bars. Their "Stand,
stand!" the blackened appearance of the doorless gateway, and the winding
staircase and apartments of the Tolbooth, now open to the public eye,
recalled the whole proceedings of the eventful night. Upon his requesting
to speak with Effie Deans, the same tall, thin, silver-haired turnkey,
whom he had seen on the preceding evening, made his appearance,

"I think," he replied to Butler's request of admission, with true
Scottish indirectness, "ye will be the same lad that was for in to see
her yestreen?"

Butler admitted he was the same person.

"And I am thinking," pursued the turnkey, "that ye speered at me when we
locked up, and if we locked up earlier on account of Porteous?"

"Very likely I might make some such observation," said Butler; "but the
question now is, can I see Effie Deans?"

"I dinna ken--gang in by, and up the turnpike stair, and turn till the
ward on the left hand."

The old man followed close behind him, with his keys in his hand, not
forgetting even that huge one which had once opened and shut the outward
gate of his dominions, though at present it was but an idle and useless
burden. No sooner had Butler entered the room to which he was directed,
than the experienced hand of the warder selected the proper key, and
locked it on the outside. At first Butler conceived this manoeuvre was
only an effect of the man's habitual and official caution and jealousy.
But when he heard the hoarse command, "Turn out the guard!" and
immediately afterwards heard the clash of a sentinel's arms, as he was
posted at the door of his apartment, he again called out to the turnkey,
"My good friend, I have business of some consequence with Effie Deans,
and I beg to see her as soon as possible." No answer was returned. "If it
be against your rules to admit me," repeated Butler, in a still louder
tone, "to see the prisoner, I beg you will tell me so, and let me go
about my business.--_Fugit irrevocabile tempus!_" muttered he to himself.

"If ye had business to do, ye suld hae dune it before ye cam here,"
replied the man of keys from the outside; "yell find it's easier wunnin
in than wunnin out here--there's sma' likelihood o' another Porteous mob
coming to rabble us again--the law will haud her ain now, neighbour, and
that yell find to your cost."

"What do you mean by that, sir?" retorted Butler. "You must mistake me
for some other person. My name is Reuben Butler, preacher of the gospel."

"I ken that weel eneugh," said the turnkey.

"Well, then, if you know me, I have a right to know from you in return,
what warrant you have for detaining me; that, I know, is the right of
every British subject."

"Warrant!" said the jailor,--"the warrant's awa to Libberton wi' twa
sheriff officers seeking ye. If ye had staid at hame, as honest men
should do, ye wad hae seen the warrant; but if ye come to be incarcerated
of your ain accord, wha can help it, my jo?"

"'So I cannot see Effie Deans, then," said Butler; "and you are
determined not to let me out?"

"Troth will I no, neighbour," answered the old man, doggedly; "as for
Effie Deans, ye'll hae eneuch ado to mind your ain business, and let her
mind hers; and for letting you out, that maun be as the magistrate will
determine. And fare ye weel for a bit, for I maun see Deacon Sawyers put
on ane or twa o' the doors that your quiet folk broke down yesternight,
Mr. Butler."

There was something in this exquisitely provoking, but there was also
something darkly alarming. To be imprisoned, even on a false accusation,
has something in it disagreeable and menacing even to men of more
constitutional courage than Butler had to boast; for although he had much
of that resolution which arises from a sense of duty and an honourable
desire to discharge it, yet, as his imagination was lively, and his frame
of body delicate, he was far from possessing that cool insensibility to
danger which is the happy portion of men of stronger health, more firm
nerves, and less acute sensibility. An indistinct idea of peril, which he
could neither understand nor ward off, seemed to float before his eyes.
He tried to think over the events of the preceding night, in hopes of
discovering some means of explaining or vindicating his conduct for
appearing among the mob, since it immediately occurred to him that his
detention must be founded on that circumstance. And it was with anxiety
that he found he could not recollect to have been under the observation
of any disinterested witness in the attempts that he made from time to
time to expostulate with the rioters, and to prevail on them to release
him. The distress of Deans's family, the dangerous rendezvous which
Jeanie had formed, and which he could not now hope to interrupt, had also
their share in his unpleasant reflections. Yet, impatient as he was to
receive an _e'claircissement_ upon the cause of his confinement, and if
possible to obtain his liberty, he was affected with a trepidation which
seemed no good omen; when, after remaining an hour in this solitary
apartment, he received a summons to attend the sitting magistrate. He was
conducted from prison strongly guarded by a party of soldiers, with a
parade of precaution, that, however ill-timed and unnecessary, is
generally displayed _after_ an event, which such precaution, if used in
time, might have prevented.

He was introduced into the Council Chamber, as the place is called where
the magistrates hold their sittings, and which was then at a little
distance from the prison. One or two of the senators of the city were
present, and seemed about to engage in the examination of an individual
who was brought forward to the foot of the long green-covered table round
which the council usually assembled. "Is that the preacher?" said one of
the magistrates, as the city officer in attendance introduced Butler. The
man answered in the affirmative. "Let him sit down there for an instant;
we will finish this man's business very briefly."

"Shall we remove Mr. Butler?" queried the assistant.

"It is not necessary--Let him remain where he is."

Butler accordingly sate down on a bench at the bottom of the apartment,
attended by one of his keepers.

It was a large room, partially and imperfectly lighted; but by chance, or
the skill of the architect, who might happen to remember the advantage
which might occasionally be derived from such an arrangement, one window
was so placed as to throw a strong light at the foot of the table at
which prisoners were usually posted for examination, while the upper end,
where the examinants sate, was thrown into shadow. Butler's eyes were
instantly fixed on the person whose examination was at present
proceeding, in the idea that he might recognise some one of the
conspirators of the former night. But though the features of this man
were sufficiently marked and striking, he could not recollect that he had
ever seen them before.

The complexion of this person was dark, and his age somewhat advanced. He
wore his own hair, combed smooth down, and cut very short. It was jet
black, slightly curled by nature, and already mottled with grey. The
man's face expressed rather knavery than vice, and a disposition to
sharpness, cunning, and roguery, more than the traces of stormy and
indulged passions. His sharp quick black eyes, acute features, ready
sardonic smile, promptitude and effrontery, gave him altogether what is
called among the vulgar a _knowing_ look, which generally implies a
tendency to knavery. At a fair or market, you could not for a moment have
doubted that he was a horse-jockey, intimate with all the tricks of his
trade; yet, had you met him on a moor, you would not have apprehended any
violence from him. His dress was also that of a horse-dealer--a
close-buttoned jockey-coat, or wrap-rascal, as it was then termed, with
huge metal buttons, coarse blue upper stockings, called boot-hose because
supplying the place of boots, and a slouched hat. He only wanted a loaded
whip under his arm and a spur upon one heel, to complete the dress of the
character he seemed to represent.

"Your name is James Ratcliffe?" said the magistrate.

"Ay--always wi' your honour's leave."

"That is to say, you could find me another name if I did not like that
one?"

"Twenty to pick and choose upon, always with your honour's leave,"
resumed the respondent.

"But James Ratcliffe is your present name?--what is your trade?"

"I canna just say, distinctly, that I have what ye wad ca' preceesely a
trade."

"But," repeated the magistrate, "what are your means of living--your
occupation?"

"Hout tout--your honour, wi' your leave, kens that as weel as I do,"
replied the examined.

"No matter, I want to hear you describe it," said the examinant.

"Me describe!--and to your honour!--far be it from Jemmie Ratcliffe,"
responded the prisoner.

"Come, sir, no trifling--I insist on an answer."

"Weel, sir," replied the declarant, "I maun make a clean breast, for ye
see, wi' your leave, I am looking for favour--Describe my occupation,
quo' ye?--troth it will be ill to do that, in a feasible way, in a place
like this--but what is't again that the aught command says?"

"Thou shalt not steal," answered the magistrate.

"Are you sure o' that?" replied the accused.--"Troth, then, my
occupation, and that command, are sair at odds, for I read it, thou
_shalt_ steal; and that makes an unco difference, though there's but a
wee bit word left out."

"To cut the matter short, Ratcliffe, you have been a most notorious
thief," said the examinant.

"I believe Highlands and Lowlands ken that, sir, forby England and
Holland," replied Ratcliffe, with the greatest composure and effrontery.

"And what d'ye think the end of your calling will be?" said the
magistrate.

"I could have gien a braw guess yesterday--but I dinna ken sae weel the
day," answered the prisoner.

"And what would you have said would have been your end, had you been
asked the question yesterday?"

"Just the gallows," replied Ratcliffe, with the same composure.

"You are a daring rascal, sir," said the magistrate; "and how dare you
hope times are mended with you to-day?"

"Dear, your honour," answered Ratcliffe, "there's muckle difference
between lying in prison under sentence of death, and staying there of
ane's ain proper accord, when it would have cost a man naething to get up
and rin awa--what was to hinder me from stepping out quietly, when the
rabble walked awa wi' Jock Porteous yestreen?--and does your honour
really think I staid on purpose to be hanged?"

"I do not know what you may have proposed to yourself; but I know," said
the magistrate, "what the law proposes for you, and that is, to hang you
next Wednesday eight days."

"Na, na, your honour," said Ratcliffe firmly, "craving your honour's
pardon, I'll ne'er believe that till I see it. I have kend the law this
mony a year, and mony a thrawart job I hae had wi' her first and last;
but the auld jaud is no sae ill as that comes to--I aye fand her bark
waur than her bite."

"And if you do not expect the gallows, to which you are condemned (for
the fourth time to my knowledge), may I beg the favour to know," said the
magistrate, "what it is you _do_ expect, in consideration of your not
having taken your flight with the rest of the jail-birds, which I will
admit was a line of conduct little to have been expected?"

"I would never have thought for a moment of staying in that auld gousty
toom house," answered Ratcliffe, "but that use and wont had just gien me
a fancy to the place, and I'm just expecting a bit post in't."

"A post!" exclaimed the magistrate; "a whipping-post, I suppose, you
mean?"

"Na, na, sir, I had nae thoughts o' a whuppin-post. After having been
four times doomed to hang by the neck till I was dead, I think I am far
beyond being whuppit."

"Then, in Heaven's name, what _did_ you expect?"

"Just the post of under-turnkey, for I understand there's a vacancy,"
said the prisoner; "I wadna think of asking the lockman's* place ower his
head; it wadna suit me sae weel as ither folk, for I never could put a
beast out o' the way, much less deal wi' a man."

* Note H. Hangman, or Lockman.

"That's something in your favour," said the magistrate, making exactly
the inference to which Ratcliffe was desirous to lead him, though he
mantled his art with an affectation of oddity.

"But," continued the magistrate, "how do you think you can be trusted
with a charge in the prison, when you have broken at your own hand half
the jails in Scotland?"

"Wi' your honour's leave," said Ratcliffe, "if I kend sae weel how to wun
out mysell, it's like I wad be a' the better a hand to keep other folk
in. I think they wad ken their business weel that held me in when I
wanted to be out, or wan out when I wanted to hand them in."

The remark seemed to strike the magistrate, but he made no further
immediate observation, only desired Ratcliffe to be removed.

When this daring and yet sly freebooter was out of hearing, the
magistrate asked the city clerk, "what he thought of the fellow's
assurance?"

"It's no for me to say, sir," replied the clerk; "but if James Ratcliffe
be inclined to turn to good, there is not a man e'er came within the
ports of the burgh could be of sae muckle use to the Good Town in the
thief and lock-up line of business. I'll speak to Mr. Sharpitlaw about
him."

Upon Ratcliffe's retreat, Butler was placed at the table for examination.
The magistrate conducted his inquiry civilly, but yet in a manner which
gave him to understand that he laboured under strong suspicion. With a
frankness which at once became his calling and character, Butler avowed
his involuntary presence at the murder of Porteous, and, at the request
of the magistrate, entered into a minute detail of the circumstances
which attended that unhappy affair. All the particulars, such as we have
narrated, were taken minutely down by the clerk from Butler's dictation.

When the narrative was concluded, the cross-examination commenced, which
it is a painful task even for the most candid witness to undergo, since a
story, especially if connected with agitating and alarming incidents, can
scarce be so clearly and distinctly told, but that some ambiguity and
doubt may be thrown upon it by a string of successive and minute
interrogatories.

The magistrate commenced by observing, that Butler had said his object
was to return to the village of Libberton, but that he was interrupted by
the mob at the West Port. "Is the West Port your usual way of leaving
town when you go to Libberton?" said the magistrate, with a sneer.

"No, certainly," answered Butler, with the haste of a man anxious to
vindicate the accuracy of his evidence; "but I chanced to be nearer that
port than any other, and the hour of shutting the gates was on the point
of striking."

"That was unlucky," said the magistrate, drily. "Pray, being, as you say,
under coercion and fear of the lawless multitude, and compelled to
accompany them through scenes disagreeable to all men of humanity, and
more especially irreconcilable to the profession of a minister, did you
not attempt to struggle, resist, or escape from their violence?"

Butler replied, "that their numbers prevented him from attempting
resistance, and their vigilance from effecting his escape."

"That was unlucky," again repeated the magistrate, in the same dry
inacquiescent tone of voice and manner. He proceeded with decency and
politeness, but with a stiffness which argued his continued suspicion, to
ask many questions concerning the behaviour of the mob, the manners and
dress of the ringleaders; and when he conceived that the caution of
Butler, if he was deceiving him, must be lulled asleep, the magistrate
suddenly and artfully returned to former parts of his declaration, and
required a new recapitulation of the circumstances, to the minutest and
most trivial point, which attended each part of the melancholy scene. No
confusion or contradiction, however, occurred, that could countenance the
suspicion which he seemed to have adopted against Butler. At length the
train of his interrogatories reached Madge Wildfire, at whose name the
magistrate and town-clerk exchanged significant glances. If the fate of
the Good Town had depended on her careful magistrate's knowing the
features and dress of this personage, his inquiries could not have been
more particular. But Butler could say almost nothing of this person's
features, which were disguised apparently with red paint and soot, like
an Indian going to battle, besides the projecting shade of a curch, or
coif, which muffled the hair of the supposed female. He declared that he
thought he could not know this Madge Wildfire, if placed before him in a
different dress, but that he believed he might recognise her voice.

The magistrate requested him again to state by what gate he left the
city.

"By the Cowgate Port," replied Butler.

"Was that the nearest road to Libberton?"

"No," answered Butler, with embarrassment; "but it was the nearest way to
extricate myself from the mob."

The clerk and magistrate again exchanged glances.

"Is the Cowgate Port a nearer way to Libberton from the Grassmarket than
Bristo Port?"

"No," replied Butler; "but I had to visit a friend."

"Indeed!" said the interrogator--"You were in a hurry to tell the sight
you had witnessed, I suppose?"

"Indeed I was not," replied Butler; "nor did I speak on the subject the
whole time I was at St. Leonard's Crags."

"Which road did you take to St. Leonard's Crags?"

"By the foot of Salisbury Crags," was the reply.

"Indeed? you seem partial to circuitous routes," again said the
magistrate. "Whom did you see after you left the city?"

One by one he obtained a description of every one of the groups who had
passed Butler, as already noticed, their number, demeanour, and
appearance; and, at length, came to the circumstance of the mysterious
stranger in the King's Park. On this subject Butler would fain have
remained silent, But the magistrate had no sooner got a slight hint
concerning the incident, than he seemed bent to possess himself of the
most minute particulars.

"Look ye, Mr. Butler," said he, "you are a young man, and bear an
excellent character; so much I will myself testify in your favour. But we
are aware there has been, at times, a sort of bastard and fiery zeal in
some of your order, and those, men irreproachable in other points, which
has led them into doing and countenancing great irregularities, by which
the peace of the country is liable to be shaken.--I will deal plainly
with you. I am not at all satisfied with this story, of your setting out
again and again to seek your dwelling by two several roads, which were
both circuitous. And, to be frank, no one whom we have examined on this
unhappy affair could trace in your appearance any thing like your acting
under compulsion. Moreover, the waiters at the Cowgate Port observed
something like the trepidation of guilt in your conduct, and declare that
you were the first to command them to open the gate, in a tone of
authority, as if still presiding over the guards and out-posts of the
rabble, who had besieged them the whole night."

"God forgive them!" said Butler; "I only asked free passage for myself;
they must have much misunderstood, if they did not wilfully misrepresent
me."

"Well, Mr. Butler," resumed the magistrate, "I am inclined to judge the
best and hope the best, as I am sure I wish the best; but you must be
frank with me, if you wish to secure my good opinion, and lessen the risk
of inconvenience to yourself. You have allowed you saw another individual
in your passage through the King's Park to Saint Leonard's Crags--I must
know every word which passed betwixt you."

Thus closely pressed, Butler, who had no reason for concealing what
passed at that meeting, unless because Jeanie Deans was concerned in it,
thought it best to tell the whole truth from beginning to end.

"Do you suppose," said the magistrate, pausing, "that the young woman
will accept an invitation so mysterious?"

"I fear she will," replied Butler.

"Why do you use the word _fear_ it?" said the magistrate.

"Because I am apprehensive for her safety, in meeting at such a time and
place, one who had something of the manner of a desperado, and whose
message was of a character so inexplicable."

"Her safety shall be cared for," said the magistrate. "Mr. Butler, I am
concerned I cannot immediately discharge you from confinement, but I hope
you will not be long detained.--Remove Mr. Butler, and let him be
provided with decent accommodation in all respects."

He was conducted back to the prison accordingly; but, in the food offered
to him, as well as in the apartment in which he was lodged, the
recommendation of the magistrate was strictly attended to.



CHAPTER THIRTEENTH.


                     Dark and eerie was the night,
                        And lonely was the way,
                    As Janet, wi' her green mantell,
                       To Miles' Cross she did gae.
                                          Old Ballad.

Leaving Butler to all the uncomfortable thoughts attached to his new
situation, among which the most predominant was his feeling that he was,
by his confinement, deprived of all possibility of assisting the family
at St. Leonard's in their greatest need, we return to Jeanie Deans, who
had seen him depart, without an opportunity of farther explanation, in
all that agony of mind with which the female heart bids adieu to the
complicated sensations so well described by Coleridge,--


                   Hopes, and fears that kindle hope,
                     An undistinguishable throng;
                    And gentle wishes long subdued--
                      Subdued and cherished long.

It is not the firmest heart (and Jeanie, under her russet rokelay, had
one that would not have disgraced Cato's daughter) that can most easily
bid adieu to these soft and mingled emotions. She wept for a few minutes
bitterly, and without attempting to refrain from this indulgence of
passion. But a moment's recollection induced her to check herself for a
grief selfish and proper to her own affections, while her father and
sister were plunged into such deep and irretrievable affliction. She drew
from her pocket the letter which had been that morning flung into her
apartment through an open window, and the contents of which were as
singular as the expression was violent and energetic. "If she would save
a human being from the most damning guilt, and all its desperate
consequences,--if she desired the life an honour of her sister to be
saved from the bloody fangs of an unjust law,--if she desired not to
forfeit peace of mind here, and happiness hereafter," such was the
frantic style of the conjuration, "she was entreated to give a sure,
secret, and solitary meeting to the writer. She alone could rescue him,"
so ran the letter, "and he only could rescue her." He was in such
circumstances, the billet farther informed her, that an attempt to bring
any witness of their conference, or even to mention to her father, or any
other person whatsoever, the letter which requested it, would inevitably
prevent its taking place, and ensure the destruction of her sister. The
letter concluded with incoherent but violent protestations, that in
obeying this summons she had nothing to fear personally.

The message delivered to her by Butler from the stranger in the Park
tallied exactly with the contents of the letter, but assigned a later
hour and a different place of meeting. Apparently the writer of the
letter had been compelled to let Butler so far into his confidence, for
the sake of announcing this change to Jeanie. She was more than once on
the point of producing the billet, in vindication of herself from her
lover's half-hinted suspicions. But there is something in stooping to
justification which the pride of innocence does not at all times
willingly submit to; besides that the threats contained in the letter, in
case of her betraying the secret, hung heavy on her heart. It is
probable, however, that had they remained longer together, she might have
taken the resolution to submit the whole matter to Butler, and be guided
by him as to the line of conduct which she should adopt. And when, by the
sudden interruption of their conference, she lost the opportunity of
doing so, she felt as if she had been unjust to a friend, whose advice
might have been highly useful, and whose attachment deserved her full and
unreserved confidence.

To have recourse to her father upon this occasion, she considered as
highly imprudent. There was no possibility of conjecturing in what light
the matter might strike old David, whose manner of acting and thinking in
extraordinary circumstances depended upon feelings and principles
peculiar to himself, the operation of which could not be calculated upon
even by those best acquainted with him. To have requested some female
friend to have accompanied her to the place of rendezvous, would perhaps
have been the most eligible expedient; but the threats of the writer,
that betraying his secret would prevent their meeting (on which her
sister's safety was said to depend) from taking place at all, would have
deterred her from making such a confidence, even had she known a person
in whom she thought it could with safety have been reposed. But she knew
none such. Their acquaintance with the cottagers in the vicinity had been
very slight, and limited to trifling acts of good neighbourhood. Jeanie
knew little of them, and what she knew did not greatly incline her to
trust any of them. They were of the order of loquacious good-humoured
gossips usually found in their situation of life; and their conversation
had at all times few charms for a young woman, to whom nature and the
circumstance of a solitary life had given a depth of thought and force of
character superior to the frivolous part of her sex, whether in high or
low degree.

Left alone and separated from all earthly counsel, she had recourse to a
friend and adviser, whose ear is open to the cry of the poorest and most
afflicted of his people. She knelt, and prayed with fervent sincerity,
that God would please to direct her what course to follow in her arduous
and distressing situation. It was the belief of the time and sect to
which she belonged, that special answers to prayer, differing little in
their character from divine inspiration, were, as they expressed it,
"borne in upon their minds" in answer to their earnest petitions in a
crisis of difficulty. Without entering into an abstruse point of
divinity, one thing is plain;--namely, that the person who lays open his
doubts and distresses in prayer, with feeling and sincerity, must
necessarily, in the act of doing so, purify his mind from the dross of
worldly passions and interests, and bring it into that state, when the
resolutions adopted are likely to be selected rather from a sense of
duty, than from any inferior motive. Jeanie arose from her devotions,
with her heart fortified to endure affliction, and encouraged to face
difficulties.

"I will meet this unhappy man," she said to herself--"unhappy he must be,
since I doubt he has been the cause of poor Effie's misfortune--but I
will meet him, be it for good or ill. My mind shall never cast up to me,
that, for fear of what might be said or done to myself, I left that
undone that might even yet be the rescue of her."

With a mind greatly composed since the adoption of this resolution, she
went to attend her father. The old man, firm in the principles of his
youth, did not, in outward appearance at least, permit a thought of hit
family distress to interfere with the stoical reserve of his countenance
and manners. He even chid his daughter for having neglected, in the
distress of the morning, some trifling domestic duties which fell under
her department.

"Why, what meaneth this, Jeanie?" said the old man--"The brown
four-year-auld's milk is not seiled yet, nor the bowies put up on the
bink. If ye neglect your warldly duties in the day of affliction, what
confidence have I that ye mind the greater matters that concern
salvation? God knows, our bowies, and our pipkins, and our draps o' milk,
and our bits o' bread, are nearer and dearer to us than the bread of
life!"

Jeanie, not unpleased to hear her father's thoughts thus expand
themselves beyond the sphere of his immediate distress, obeyed him, and
proceeded to put her household matters in order; while old David moved
from place to place about his ordinary employments, scarce showing,
unless by a nervous impatience at remaining long stationary, an
occasional convulsive sigh, or twinkle of the eyelid, that he was
labouring under the yoke of such bitter affliction.

The hour of noon came on, and the father and child sat down to their
homely repast. In his petition for a blessing on the meal, the poor old
man added to his supplication, a prayer that the bread eaten in sadness
of heart, and the bitter waters of Marah, might be made as nourishing as
those which had been poured forth from a full cup and a plentiful basket
and store; and having concluded his benediction, and resumed the bonnet
which he had laid "reverently aside," he proceeded to exhort his daughter
to eat, not by example indeed, but at least by precept.

"The man after God's own heart," he said, "washed and anointed himself,
and did eat bread, in order to express his submission under a
dispensation of suffering, and it did not become a Christian man or woman
so to cling to creature-comforts of wife or bairns"--(here the words
became too great, as it were, for his utterance),--"as to forget the fist
duty,--submission to the Divine will."

To add force to his precept, he took a morsel on his plate, but nature
proved too strong even for the powerful feelings with which he
endeavoured to bridle it. Ashamed of his weakness, he started up, and ran
out of the house, with haste very unlike the deliberation of his usual
movements. In less than five minutes he returned, having successfully
struggled to recover his ordinary composure of mind and countenance, and
affected to colour over his late retreat, by muttering that he thought he
heard the "young staig loose in the byre."

He did not again trust himself with the subject of his former
conversation, and his daughter was glad to see that he seemed to avoid
farther discourse on that agitating topic. The hours glided on, as on
they must and do pass, whether winged with joy or laden with affliction.
The sun set beyond the dusky eminence of the Castle and the screen of
western hills, and the close of evening summoned David Deans and his
daughter to the family duty of the night. It came bitterly upon Jeanie's
recollection, how often, when the hour of worship approached, she used to
watch the lengthening shadows, and look out from the door of the house,
to see if she could spy her sister's return homeward. Alas! this idle and
thoughtless waste of time, to what evils had it not finally led? and was
she altogether guiltless, who, noticing Effie's turn to idle and light
society, had not called in her father's authority to restrain her?--But I
acted for the best, she again reflected, and who could have expected such
a growth of evil, from one grain of human leaven, in a disposition so
kind, and candid, and generous?

As they sate down to the "exercise," as it is called, a chair happened
accidentally to stand in the place which Effie usually occupied. David
Deans saw his daughter's eyes swim in tears as they were directed towards
this object, and pushed it aside, with a gesture of some impatience, as
if desirous to destroy every memorial of earthly interest when about to
address the Deity. The portion of Scripture was read, the psalm was sung,
the prayer was made; and it was remarkable that, in discharging these
duties, the old man avoided all passages and expressions, of which
Scripture affords so many, that might be considered as applicable to his
own domestic misfortune. In doing so it was perhaps his intention to
spare the feelings of his daughter, as well as to maintain, in outward
show at least, that stoical appearance of patient endurance of all the
evil which earth could bring, which was in his opinion essential to the
character of one who rated all earthly things at their just estimate of
nothingness. When he had finished the duty of the evening, he came up to
his daughter, wished her good-night, and, having done so, continued to
hold her by the hands for half-a-minute; then drawing her towards him,
kissed her forehead, and ejaculated, "The God of Israel bless you, even
with the blessings of the promise, my dear bairn!"

It was not either in the nature or habits of David Deans to seem a fond
father; nor was he often observed to experience, or at least to evince,
that fulness of the heart which seeks to expand itself in tender
expressions or caresses even to those who were dearest to him. On the
contrary, he used to censure this as a degree of weakness in several of
his neighbours, and particularly in poor widow Butler. It followed,
however, from the rarity of such emotions in this self-denied and
reserved man, that his children attached to occasional marks of his
affection and approbation a degree of high interest and solemnity; well
considering them as evidences of feelings which were only expressed when
they became too intense for suppression or concealment.

With deep emotion, therefore, did he bestow, and his daughter receive,
this benediction and paternal caress. "And you, my dear father,"
exclaimed Jeanie, when the door had closed upon the venerable old man,
"may you have purchased and promised blessings multiplied upon you--upon
_you,_ who walk in this world as though you were not of the world, and
hold all that it can give or take away but as the _midges_ that the
sun-blink brings out, and the evening wind sweeps away!"

She now made preparation for her night-walk. Her father slept in another
part of the dwelling, and, regular in all his habits, seldom or never
left his apartment when he had betaken himself to it for the evening. It
was therefore easy for her to leave the house unobserved, so soon as the
time approached at which she was to keep her appointment. But the step
she was about to take had difficulties and terrors in her own eyes,
though she had no reason to apprehend her father's interference. Her life
had been spent in the quiet, uniform, and regular seclusion of their
peaceful and monotonous household. The very hour which some damsels of
the present day, as well of her own as of higher degree, would consider
as the natural period of commencing an evening of pleasure, brought, in
her opinion, awe and solemnity in it; and the resolution she had taken
had a strange, daring, and adventurous character, to which she could
hardly reconcile herself when the moment approached for putting it into
execution. Her hands trembled as she snooded her fair hair beneath the
riband, then the only ornament or cover which young unmarried women wore
on their head, and as she adjusted the scarlet tartan screen or muffler
made of plaid, which the Scottish women wore, much in the fashion of the
black silk veils still a part of female dress in the Netherlands. A sense
of impropriety as well as of danger pressed upon her, as she lifted the
latch of her paternal mansion to leave it on so wild an expedition, and
at so late an hour, unprotected, and without the knowledge of her natural
guardian.

When she found herself abroad and in the open fields, additional subjects
of apprehension crowded upon her. The dim cliffs and scattered rocks,
interspersed with greensward, through which she had to pass to the place
of appointment, as they glimmered before her in a clear autumn night,
recalled to her memory many a deed of violence, which, according to
tradition, had been done and suffered among them. In earlier days they
had been the haunt of robbers and assassins, the memory of whose crimes
is preserved in the various edicts which the council of the city, and
even the parliament of Scotland, had passed for dispersing their bands,
and ensuring safety to the lieges, so near the precincts of the city. The
names of these criminals, and, of their atrocities, were still remembered
in traditions of the scattered cottages and the neighbouring suburb. In
latter times, as we have already noticed, the sequestered and broken
character of the ground rendered it a fit theatre for duels and
rencontres among the fiery youth of the period. Two or three of these
incidents, all sanguinary, and one of them fatal in its termination, had
happened since Deans came to live at St. Leonard's. His daughter's
recollections, therefore, were of blood and horror as she pursued the
small scarce-tracked solitary path, every step of which conveyed het to a
greater distance from help, and deeper into the ominous seclusion of
these unhallowed precincts.

As the moon began to peer forth on the scene with a doubtful, flitting,
and solemn light, Jeanie's apprehensions took another turn, too peculiar
to her rank and country to remain unnoticed. But to trace its origin will
require another chapter.



CHAPTER FOURTEENTH.


                           The spirit I have seen
                      May be the devil. And the devil has power
                      To assume a pleasing shape.
                                              Hamlet.

Witchcraft and demonology, as we have already had occasion to remark, were
at this period believed in by almost all ranks, but more especially among
the stricter classes of Presbyterians, whose government, when their party
were at the head of the state, had been much sullied by their eagerness
to inquire into and persecute these imaginary crimes. Now, in this point
of view, also, Saint Leonard's Crags and the adjacent Chase were a
dreaded and ill-reputed district. Not only had witches held their
meetings there, but even of very late years the enthusiast or impostor,
mentioned in the _Pandaemonium_ of Richard Bovet, Gentleman,* had, among
the recesses of these romantic cliffs, found his way into the hidden
retreats where the fairies revel in the bowels of the earth.

* Note I. The Fairy Boy of Leith.

With all these legends Jeanie Deans was too well acquainted to escape
that strong impression which they usually make on the imagination.
Indeed, relations of this ghostly kind had been familiar to her from her
infancy, for they were the only relief which her father's conversation
afforded from controversial argument, or the gloomy history of the
strivings and testimonies, escapes, captures, tortures, and executions of
those martyrs of the Covenant, with whom it was his chiefest boast to say
he had been acquainted. In the recesses of mountains, in caverns, and in
morasses, to which these persecuted enthusiasts were so ruthlessly
pursued, they conceived they had often to contend with the visible
assaults of the Enemy of mankind, as in the cities, and in the cultivated
fields, they were exposed to those of the tyrannical government and their
soldiery. Such were the terrors which made one of their gifted seers
exclaim, when his companion returned to him, after having left him alone
in a haunted cavern in Sorn in Galloway, "It is hard living in this
world-incarnate devils above the earth, and devils under the earth! Satan
has been here since ye went away, but I have dismissed him by resistance;
we will be no more troubled with him this night." David Deans believed
this, and many other such ghostly encounters and victories, on the faith
of the Ansars, or auxiliaries of the banished prophets. This event was
beyond David's remembrance. But he used to tell with great awe, yet not
without a feeling of proud superiority to his auditors, how he himself
had been present at a field-meeting at Crochmade, when the duty of the
day was interrupted by the apparition of a tall black man, who, in the
act of crossing a ford to join the congregation, lost ground, and was
carried down apparently by the force of the stream. All were instantly at
work to assist him, but with so little success, that ten or twelve stout
men, who had hold of the rope which they had cast in to his aid, were
rather in danger to be dragged into the stream, and lose their own lives,
than likely to save that of the supposed perishing man. "But famous John
Semple of Carspharn," David Deans used to say with exultation, "saw the
whaup in the rape.--'Quit the rope,' he cried to us (for I that was but a
callant had a hand o' the rape mysell), 'it is the Great Enemy! he will
burn, but not drown; his design is to disturb the good wark, by raising
wonder and confusion in your minds; to put off from your spirits all that
ye hae heard and felt.'--Sae we let go the rape," said David, "and he
went adown the water screeching and bullering like a Bull of Bashan, as
he's ca'd in Scripture."*

* Note J. Intercourse of the Covenanters with the invisible world.

Trained in these and similar legends, it was no wonder that Jeanie began
to feel an ill-defined apprehension, not merely of the phantoms which
might beset her way, but of the quality, nature, and purpose of the being
who had thus appointed her a meeting, at a place and hour of horror, and
at a time when her mind must be necessarily full of those tempting and
ensnaring thoughts of grief and despair, which were supposed to lay
sufferers particularly open to the temptations of the Evil One. If such
an idea had crossed even Butler's well-informed mind, it was calculated
to make a much stronger impression upon hers. Yet firmly believing the
possibility of an encounter so terrible to flesh and blood, Jeanie, with
a degree of resolution of which we cannot sufficiently estimate the
merit, because the incredulity of the age has rendered us strangers to
the nature and extent of her feelings, persevered in her determination
not to omit an opportunity of doing something towards saving her sister,
although, in the attempt to avail herself of it, she might be exposed to
dangers so dreadful to her imagination. So, like Christiana in the
Pilgrim's Progress, when traversing with a timid yet resolved step the
terrors of the Valley of the Shadow of Death, she glided on by rock and
stone, "now in glimmer and now in gloom," as her path lay through
moonlight or shadow, and endeavoured to overpower the suggestions of
fear, sometimes by fixing her mind upon the distressed condition of her
sister, and the duty she lay under to afford her aid, should that be in
her power; and more frequently by recurring in mental prayer to the
protection of that Being to whom night is as noon-day.

Thus drowning at one time her fears by fixing her mind on a subject of
overpowering interest, and arguing them down at others by referring
herself to the protection of the Deity, she at length approached the
place assigned for this mysterious conference.

It was situated in the depth of the valley behind Salisbury Crags, which
has for a background the north-western shoulder of the mountain called
Arthur's Seat, on whose descent still remain the ruins of what was once a
chapel, or hermitage, dedicated to St. Anthony the Eremite. A better site
for such a building could hardly have been selected; for the chapel,
situated among the rude and pathless cliffs, lies in a desert, even in
the immediate vicinity of a rich, populous, and tumultuous capital: and
the hum of the city might mingle with the orisons of the recluses,
conveying as little of worldly interest as if it had been the roar of the
distant ocean. Beneath the steep ascent on which these ruins are still
visible, was, and perhaps is still pointed out, the place where the
wretch Nichol Muschat, who has been already mentioned in these pages, had
closed a long scene of cruelty towards his unfortunate wife, by murdering
her, with circumstances of uncommon barbarity.*

* See Note G. Muschat's Cairn.

The execration in which the man's crime was held extended itself to the
place where it was perpetrated, which was marked by a small _cairn,_ or
heap of stones, composed of those which each chance passenger had thrown
there in testimony of abhorrence, and on the principle, it would seem, of
the ancient British malediction, "May you have a cairn for your
burial-place!"


[Illustration: Muschat's Cairn--221]


As our heroine approached this ominous and unhallowed spot, she paused
and looked to the moon, now rising broad in the north-west, and shedding
a more distinct light than it had afforded during her walk thither.
Eyeing the planet for a moment, she then slowly and fearfully turned her
head towards the cairn, from which it was at first averted. She was at
first disappointed. Nothing was visible beside the little pile of stones,
which shone grey in the moonlight. A multitude of confused suggestions
rushed on her mind. Had her correspondent deceived her, and broken his
appointment?--was he too tardy at the appointment he had made?--or had
some strange turn of fate prevented him from appearing as he
proposed?--or, if he were an unearthly being, as her secret
apprehensions suggested, was it his object merely to delude her with
false hopes, and put her to unnecessary toil and terror, according to
the nature, as she had heard, of those wandering demons?--or did he
purpose to blast her with the sudden horrors of his presence when she
had come close to the place of rendezvous? These anxious reflections did
not prevent her approaching to the cairn with a pace that, though slow,
was determined.

When she was within two yards of the heap of stones, a figure rose
suddenly up from behind it, and Jeanie scarce forbore to scream aloud at
what seemed the realisation of the most frightful of her anticipations.
She constrained herself to silence, however, and, making a dead pause,
suffered the figure to open the conversation, which he did, by asking, in
a voice which agitation rendered tremulous and hollow, "Are you the
sister of that ill-fated young woman?"

"I am--I am the sister of Effie Deans!" exclaimed Jeanie. "And as ever
you hope God will hear you at your need, tell me, if you can tell, what
can be done to save her!"

"I do _not_ hope God will hear me at my need," was the singular answer.
"I do not deserve--I do not expect he will." This desperate language he
uttered in a tone calmer than that with which he had at first spoken,
probably because the shook of first addressing her was what he felt most
difficult to overcome. Jeanie remained mute with horror to hear language
expressed so utterly foreign to all which she had ever been acquainted
with, that it sounded in her ears rather like that of a fiend than of a
human being. The stranger pursued his address to her, without seeming to
notice her surprise. "You see before you a wretch, predestined to evil
here and hereafter."

"For the sake of Heaven, that hears and sees us," said Jeanie, "dinna
speak in this desperate fashion! The gospel is sent to the chief of
sinners--to the most miserable among the miserable."

"Then should I have my own share therein," said the stranger, "if you
call it sinful to have been the destruction of the mother that bore
me--of the friend that loved me--of the woman that trusted me--of the
innocent child that was born to me. If to have done all this is to be a
sinner, and survive it is to be miserable, then am I most guilty and most
miserable indeed."

"Then you are the wicked cause of my sister's ruin?" said Jeanie, with a
natural touch of indignation expressed in her tone of voice.

"Curse me for it, if you will," said the stranger; "I have well deserved
it at your hand."

"It is fitter for me," said Jeanie, "to pray to God to forgive you."

"Do as you will, how you will, or what you will," he replied, with
vehemence; "only promise to obey my directions, and save your sister's
life."

"I must first know," said Jeanie, "the means you would have me use in her
behalf."

"No!--you must first swear--solemnly swear, that you will employ them
when I make them known to you."

"Surely, it is needless to swear that I will do all that is lawful to a
Christian to save the life of my sister?"

"I will have no reservation!" thundered the stranger; "lawful or
unlawful, Christian or heathen, you shall swear to do my hest, and act by
my counsel, or--you little know whose wrath you provoke!"

"I will think on what you have said," said Jeanie, who began to get much
alarmed at the frantic vehemence of his manner, and disputed in her own
mind, whether she spoke to a maniac, or an apostate spirit incarnate--"I
will think on what you say, and let you ken to-morrow."

"To-morrow!" exclaimed the man with a laugh of scorn--"And where will I
be to-morrow?--or, where will you be to-night, unless you swear to walk
by my counsel?--there was one accursed deed done at this spot before now;
and there shall be another to match it, unless you yield up to my
guidance body and soul."

As he spoke, he offered a pistol at the unfortunate young woman. She
neither fled nor fainted, but sunk on her knees, and asked him to spare
her life.

"Is that all you have to say?" said the unmoved ruffian.

"Do not dip your hands in the blood of a defenceless creature that has
trusted to you," said Jeanie, still on her knees.

"Is that all you can say for your life?--Have you no promise to
give?--Will you destroy your sister, and compel me to shed more blood?"

"I can promise nothing," said Jeanie, "which is unlawful for a
Christian."

He cocked the weapon, and held it towards her.

"May God forgive you!" she said, pressing her hands forcibly against her
eyes.

"D--n!" muttered the man; and, turning aside from her, he uncocked the
pistol, and replaced it in his pocket--"I am a villain," he said,
"steeped in guilt and wretchedness, but not wicked enough to do you any
harm! I only wished to terrify you into my measures--She hears me
not--she is gone!--Great God! what a wretch am I become!"

As he spoke, she recovered herself from an agony which partook of the
bitterness of death; and, in a minute or two, through the strong exertion
of her natural sense and courage, collected herself sufficiently to
understand he intended her no personal injury.

"No!" he repeated; "I would not add to the murder of your sister, and of
her child, that of any one belonging to her!--Mad, frantic, as I am, and
unrestrained by either fear or mercy, given up to the possession of an
evil being, and forsaken by all that is good, I would not hurt you, were
the world offered me for a bribe! But, for the sake of all that is dear
to you, swear you will follow my counsel. Take this weapon, shoot me
through the head, and with your own hand revenge your sister's wrong,
only follow the course--the only course, by which her life can be saved."

"Alas! is she innocent or guilty?"

"She is guiltless--guiltless of every thing, but of having trusted a
villain!--Yet, had it not been for those that were worse than I am--yes,
worse than I am, though I am bad indeed--this misery had not befallen."

"And my sister's child--does it live?" said Jeanie.

"No; it was murdered--the new-born infant was barbarously murdered," he
uttered in a low, yet stern and sustained voice.--"but," he added
hastily, "not by her knowledge or consent."

"Then, why cannot the guilty be brought to justice, and the innocent
freed?"

"Torment me not with questions which can serve no purpose," he sternly
replied--"The deed was done by those who are far enough from pursuit, and
safe enough from discovery!--No one can save Effie but yourself."

"Woe's me! how is it in my power?" asked Jeanie, in despondency.

"Hearken to me!--You have sense--you can apprehend my meaning--I will
trust you. Your sister is innocent of the crime charged against her."

"Thank God for that!" said Jeanie.

"Be still and hearken!--The person who assisted her in her illness
murdered the child; but it was without the mother's knowledge or
consent--She is therefore guiltless, as guiltless as the unhappy
innocent, that but gasped a few minutes in this unhappy world--the
better was its hap, to be so soon at rest. She is innocent as that
infant, and yet she must die--it is impossible to clear her of the law!"

"Cannot the wretches be discovered, and given up to punishment?" said
Jeanie.

"Do you think you will persuade those who are hardened in guilt to die to
save another?--Is that the reed you would lean to?"

"But you said there was a remedy," again gasped out the terrified young
woman.

"There is," answered the stranger, "and it is in your own hands. The blow
which the law aims cannot be broken by directly encountering it, but it
may be turned aside. You saw your sister during the period preceding the
birth of her child--what is so natural as that she should have mentioned
her condition to you? The doing so would, as their cant goes, take the
case from under the statute, for it removes the quality of concealment. I
know their jargon, and have had sad cause to know it; and the quality of
concealment is essential to this statutory offence.*

* Note K. Child Murder.

Nothing is so natural as that Effie should have mentioned her condition
to you--think--reflect--I am positive that she did."

"Woe's me!" said Jeanie, "she never spoke to me on the subject, but grat
sorely when I spoke to her about her altered looks, and the change on her
spirits."

"You asked her questions on the subject?" he said eagerly. "You _must_
remember her answer was, a confession that she had been ruined by a
villain--yes, lay a strong emphasis on that--a cruel false villain call
it--any other name is unnecessary; and that she bore under her bosom the
consequences of his guilt and her folly; and that he had assured her he
would provide safely for her approaching illness.--Well he kept his
word!" These last words he spoke as if it were to himself, and with a
violent gesture of self-accusation, and then calmly proceeded, "You will
remember all this?--That is all that is necessary to be said."

"But I cannot remember," answered Jeanie, with simplicity, "that which
Effie never told me."

"Are you so dull--so very dull of apprehension?" he exclaimed, suddenly
grasping her arm, and holding it firm in his hand. "I tell you" (speaking
between his teeth, and under his breath, but with great energy), "you
_must_ remember that she told you all this, whether she ever said a
syllable of it or no. You must repeat this tale, in which there is no
falsehood, except in so far as it was not told to you, before these
Justices--Justiciary--whatever they call their bloodthirsty court, and
save your sister from being murdered, and them from becoming murderers.
Do not hesitate--I pledge life and salvation, that in saying what I have
said, you will only speak the simple truth."

"But," replied Jeanie, whose judgment was too accurate not to see the
sophistry of this argument, "I shall be man-sworn in the very thing in
which my testimony is wanted, for it is the concealment for which poor
Effie is blamed, and you would make me tell a falsehood anent it."

"I see," he said, "my first suspicions of you were right, and that you
will let your sister, innocent, fair, and guiltless, except in trusting a
villain, die the death of a murderess, rather than bestow the breath of
your mouth and the sound of your voice to save her."

"I wad ware the best blood in my body to keep her skaithless," said
Jeanie, weeping in bitter agony, "but I canna change right into wrang, or
make that true which is false."

"Foolish, hardhearted girl," said the stranger, "are you afraid of what
they may do to you? I tell you, even the retainers of the law, who course
life as greyhounds do hares, will rejoice at the escape of a creature so
young--so beautiful, that they will not suspect your tale; that, if they
did suspect it, they would consider you as deserving, not only of
forgiveness, but of praise for your natural affection."

"It is not man I fear," said Jeanie, looking upward; "the God, whose name
I must call on to witness the truth of what I say, he will know the
falsehood."

"And he will know the motive," said the stranger, eagerly; "he will know
that you are doing this--not for lucre of gain, but to save the life of
the innocent, and prevent the commission of a worse crime than that which
the law seeks to avenge."

"He has given us a law," said Jeanie, "for the lamp of our path; if we
stray from it we err against knowledge--I may not do evil, even that good
may come out of it. But you--you that ken all this to be true, which I
must take on your word--you that, if I understood what you said e'en now,
promised her shelter and protection in her travail, why do not _you_ step
forward, and bear leal and soothfast evidence in her behalf, as ye may
with a clear conscience?"

"To whom do you talk of a clear conscience, woman?" said he, with a
sudden fierceness which renewed her terrors,--"to _me?_--I have not known
one for many a year. Bear witness in her behalf?--a proper witness, that
even to speak these few words to a woman of so little consequence as
yourself, must choose such an hour and such a place as this. When you see
owls and bats fly abroad, like larks, in the sunshine, you may expect to
see such as I am in the assemblies of men.--Hush--listen to that."

A voice was heard to sing one of those wild and monotonous strains so
common in Scotland, and to which the natives of that country chant their
old ballads. The sound ceased--then came nearer, and was renewed; the
stranger listened attentively, still holding Jeanie by the arm (as she
stood by him in motionless terror), as if to prevent her interrupting the
strain by speaking or stirring. When the sounds were renewed, the words
were distinctly audible:


                 "When the glede's in the blue cloud,
                        The lavrock lies still;
                  When the hound's in' the green-wood,
                       The hind keeps the hill."

The person who sung kept a strained and powerful voice at its highest
pitch, so that it could be heard at a very considerable distance. As the
song ceased, they might hear a stifled sound, as of steps and whispers of
persons approaching them. The song was again raised, but the tune was
changed:


                "O sleep ye sound, Sir James, she said,
                      When ye suld rise and ride;
                There's twenty men, wi' bow and blade,
                      Are seeking where ye hide."

"I dare stay no longer," said the stranger; "return home, or remain till
they come up--you have nothing to fear--but do not tell you saw me--your
sister's fate is in your hands." So saying, he turned from her, and with
a swift, yet cautiously noiseless step, plunged into the darkness on the
side most remote from the sounds which they heard approaching, and was
soon lost to her sight. Jeanie remained by the cairn terrified beyond
expression, and uncertain whether she ought to fly homeward with all the
speed she could exert, or wait the approach of those who were advancing
towards her. This uncertainty detained her so long, that she now
distinctly saw two or three figures already so near to her, that a
precipitate flight would have been equally fruitless and impolitic.



CHAPTER FIFTEENTH.



                           She speaks things in doubt,
                 That carry but half sense: her speech is nothing,
                 Yet the unshaped use of it doth move
                 The hearers to collection; they aim at it,
                 And botch the words up to fit their own thoughts.
                                           Hamlet.

Like the digressive poet Ariosto, I find myself under the necessity of
connecting the branches of my story, by taking up the adventures of
another of the characters, and bringing them down to the point at which
we have left those of Jeanie Deans. It is not, perhaps, the most
artificial way of telling a story, but it has the advantage of sparing
the necessity of resuming what a knitter (if stocking-looms have left
such a person in the land) might call our "dropped stitches;" a labour in
which the author generally toils much, without getting credit for his
pains.

"I could risk a sma' wad," said the clerk to the magistrate, "that this
rascal Ratcliffe, if he were insured of his neck's safety, could do more
than ony ten of our police-people and constables to help us to get out of
this scrape of Porteous's. He is weel acquent wi' a' the smugglers,
thieves, and banditti about Edinburgh; and, indeed, he may be called the
father of a' the misdoers in Scotland, for he has passed amang them for
these twenty years by the name of Daddie Rat."

"A bonny sort of a scoundrel," replied the magistrate, "to expect a place
under the city!"

"Begging your honour's pardon," said the city's procurator-fiscal, upon
whom the duties of superintendent of police devolved, "Mr. Fairscrieve is
perfectly in the right. It is just sic as Ratcliffe that the town needs
in my department; an' if sae be that he's disposed to turn his knowledge
to the city service, yell no find a better man.--Ye'll get nae saints to
be searchers for uncustomed goods, or for thieves and sic like;--and your
decent sort of men, religious professors, and broken tradesmen, that are
put into the like o' sic trust, can do nae gude ava. They are feared for
this, and they are scrupulous about that, and they arena free to tell a
lie, though it may be for the benefit of the city; and they dinna like to
be out at irregular hours, and in a dark cauld night, and they like a
clout ower the crown far waur; and sae between the fear o' God, and the
fear o' man, and the fear o' getting a sair throat, or sair banes,
there's a dozen o' our city-folk, baith waiters, and officers, and
constables, that can find out naething but a wee bit skulduddery for the
benefit of the Kirk treasurer. Jock Porteous, that's stiff and stark,
puir fallow, was worth a dozen o' them; for he never had ony fears, or
scruples, or doubts, or conscience, about onything your honours bade
him."

"He was a gude servant o' the town," said the Bailie, "though he was an
ower free-living man. But if you really think this rascal Ratcliffe could
do us ony service in discovering these malefactors, I would insure him
life, reward, and promotion. It's an awsome thing this mischance for the
city, Mr. Fairscrieve. It will be very ill taen wi' abune stairs. Queen
Caroline, God bless her! is a woman--at least I judge sae, and it's nae
treason to speak my mind sae far--and ye maybe ken as weel as I do, for
ye hae a housekeeper, though ye arena a married man, that women are
wilfu', and downa bide a slight. And it will sound ill in her ears, that
sic a confused mistake suld come to pass, and naebody sae muckle as to be
put into the Tolbooth about it."

"If ye thought that, sir," said the procurator-fiscal, "we could easily
clap into the prison a few blackguards upon suspicion. It will have a
gude active look, and I hae aye plenty on my list, that wadna be a hair
the waur of a week or twa's imprisonment; and if ye thought it no
strictly just, ye could be just the easier wi' them the neist time they
did onything to deserve it; they arena the sort to be lang o' gieing ye
an opportunity to clear scores wi' them on that account."

"I doubt that will hardly do in this case, Mr. Sharpitlaw," returned the
town-clerk; "they'll run their letters,* and be adrift again, before ye
ken where ye are."

* A Scottish form of procedure, answering, in some respects, to the
English Habeas Corpus.

"I will speak to the Lord Provost," said the magistrate, "about
Ratcliffe's business. Mr. Sharpitlaw, you will go with me, and receive
instructions--something may be made too out of this story of Butler's and
his unknown gentleman--I know no business any man has to swagger about in
the King's Park, and call himself the devil, to the terror of honest
folks, who dinna care to hear mair about the devil than is said from the
pulpit on the Sabbath. I cannot think the preacher himsell wad be heading
the mob, though the time has been, they hae been as forward in a bruilzie
as their neighbours."

"But these times are lang by," said Mr. Sharpitlaw. "In my father's time,
there was mair search for silenced ministers about the Bow-head and the
Covenant Close, and all the tents of Kedar, as they ca'd the dwellings o'
the godly in those days, than there's now for thieves and vagabonds in
the Laigh Calton and the back o' the Canongate. But that time's weel by,
an it bide. And if the Bailie will get me directions and authority from
the Provost, I'll speak wi' Daddie Rat mysell; for I'm thinking I'll make
mair out o' him than ye'll do."

Mr. Sharpitlaw, being necessarily a man of high trust, was accordingly
empowered, in the course of the day, to make such arrangements as might
seem in the emergency most advantageous for the Good Town. He went to the
jail accordingly, and saw Ratcliffe in private.

The relative positions of a police-officer and a professed thief bear a
different complexion, according to circumstances. The most obvious simile
of a hawk pouncing upon his prey is often least applicable. Sometimes the
guardian of justice has the air of a cat watching a mouse, and, while he
suspends his purpose of springing upon the pilferer, takes care so to
calculate his motions that he shall not get beyond his power. Sometimes,
more passive still, he uses the art of fascination ascribed to the
rattlesnake, and contents himself with glaring on the victim, through all
his devious flutterings; certain that his terror, confusion, and disorder
of ideas, will bring him into his jaws at last. The interview between
Ratcliffe and Sharpitlaw had an aspect different from all these. They sat
for five minutes silent, on opposite sides of a small table, and looked
fixedly at each other, with a sharp, knowing, and alert cast of
countenance, not unmingled with an inclination to laugh, and resembled
more than anything else, two dogs, who, preparing for a game at romps,
are seen to couch down, and remain in that posture for a little time,
watching each other's movements, and waiting which shall begin the game.

"So, Mr. Ratcliffe," said the officer, conceiving it suited his dignity
to speak first, "you give up business, I find?"

"Yes, sir," replied Ratcliffe; "I shall be on that lay nae mair--and I
think that will save your folk some trouble, Mr. Sharpitlaw?"

"Which Jock Daigleish" (then finisher of the law* in the Scottish
metropolis) "wad save them as easily," returned the procurator-fiscal.

* [Among the flying leaves of the period, there is one called
"Sutherland's Lament for the loss of his post,--with his advice, to John
Daglees his successor." He was whipped and banished 25th July 1722. There
is another, called the Speech and dying words of John Dalgleish, lockman
_alias_ hangman of Edinburgh, containing these lines:--

                      Death, I've a Favour for to beg,
                      That ye wad only gie a Fleg,
                           And spare my Life;
                      As I did to ill-hanged Megg,
                               The Webster's Wife."]

"Ay; if I waited in the Tolbooth here to have him fit my cravat--but
that's an idle way o' speaking, Mr. Sharpitlaw."

"Why, I suppose you know you are under sentence of death, Mr. Ratcliffe?"
replied Mr. Sharpitlaw.

"Aye, so are a', as that worthy minister said in the Tolbooth Kirk the
day Robertson wan off; but naebody kens when it will be executed. Gude
faith, he had better reason to say sae than he dreamed off, before the
play was played out that morning!"

"This Robertson," said Sharpitlaw, in a lower and something like a
confidential tone, "d'ye ken, Rat--that is, can ye gie us ony inkling
where he is to be heard tell o'?"

"Troth, Mr. Sharpitlaw, I'll be frank wi' ye; Robertson is rather a cut
abune me--a wild deevil he was, and mony a daft prank he played; but
except the Collector's job that Wilson led him into, and some tuilzies
about run goods wi' the gaugers and the waiters, he never did onything
that came near our line o' business."

"Umph! that's singular, considering the company he kept."

"Fact, upon my honour and credit," said Ratcliffe, gravely. "He keepit
out o' our little bits of affairs, and that's mair than Wilson did; I hae
dune business wi' Wilson afore now. But the lad will come on in time;
there's nae fear o' him; naebody will live the life he has led, but what
he'll come to sooner or later."

"Who or what is he, Ratcliffe? you know, I suppose?" said Sharpitlaw.

"He's better born, I judge, than he cares to let on; he's been a soldier,
and he has been a play-actor, and I watna what he has been or hasna been,
for as young as he is, sae that it had daffing and nonsense about it."

"Pretty pranks he has played in his time, I suppose?"

"Ye may say that," said Ratcliffe, with a sardonic smile; "and" (touching
his nose) "a deevil amang the lasses."

"Like enough," said Sharpitlaw. "Weel, Ratcliffe, I'll no stand niffering
wi' ye; ye ken the way that favour's gotten in my office; ye maun be
usefu'."

"Certainly, sir, to the best of my power--naething for naething--I ken
the rule of the office," said the ex-depredator.

"Now the principal thing in hand e'en now," said the official person, "is
the job of Porteous's; an ye can gie us a lift--why, the inner turnkey's
office to begin wi', and the captainship in time--ye understand my
meaning?"

"Ay, troth do I, sir; a wink's as gude as a nod to a blind horse; but
Jock Porteous's job--Lord help ye!--I was under sentence the haill time.
God! but I couldna help laughing when I heard Jock skirting for mercy in
the lads' hands. Mony a het skin ye hae gien me, neighbour, thought I,
tak ye what's gaun: time about's fair play; ye'll ken now what hanging's
gude for."

"Come, come, this is all nonsense, Rat," said the procurator. "Ye canna
creep out at that hole, lad; you must speak to the point--you understand
me--if you want favour; gif-gaf makes gude friends, ye ken."

"But how can I speak to the point, as your honour ca's it," said
Ratcliffe, demurely, and with an air of great simplicity, "when ye ken I
was under sentence and in the strong room a' the while the job was going
on?"

"And how can we turn ye loose on the public again, Daddie Rat, unless ye
do or say something to deserve it?"

"Well, then, d--n it!" answered the criminal, "since it maun be sae, I
saw Geordie Robertson among the boys that brake the jail; I suppose that
will do me some gude?"

"That's speaking to the purpose, indeed," said the office-bearer; "and
now, Rat, where think ye we'll find him?"

"Deil haet o' me kens," said Ratcliffe; "he'll no likely gang back to ony
o' his auld howffs; he'll be off the country by this time. He has gude
friends some gate or other, for a' the life he's led; he's been weel
educate."

"He'll grace the gallows the better," said Mr. Sharpitlaw; "a desperate
dog, to murder an officer of the city for doing his duty! Wha kens wha's
turn it might be next?--But you saw him plainly?"

"As plainly as I see you."

"How was he dressed?" said Sharpitlaw.

"I couldna weel see; something of a woman's bit mutch on his head; but ye
never saw sic a ca'-throw. Ane couldna hae een to a' thing."

"But did he speak to no one?" said Sharpitlaw.

"They were a' speaking and gabbling through other," said Ratcliffe, who
was obviously unwilling to carry his evidence farther than he could
possibly help.

"This will not do, Ratcliffe," said the procurator; "you must speak
_out--out--out,_" tapping the table emphatically, as he repeated that
impressive monosyllable.

"It's very hard, sir," said the prisoner; "and but for the
under-turnkey's place--"

"And the reversion of the captaincy--the captaincy of the Tolbooth,
man--that is, in case of gude behaviour."

"Ay, ay," said Ratcliffe, "gude behaviour!--there's the deevil. And then
it's waiting for dead folk's shoon into the bargain."

"But Robertson's head will weigh something," said Sharpitlaw; "something
gey and heavy, Rat; the town maun show cause--that's right and
reason--and then ye'll hae freedom to enjoy your gear honestly."

"I dinna ken," said Ratcliffe; "it's a queer way of beginning the trade
of honesty--but deil ma care. Weel, then, I heard and saw him speak to
the wench Effie Deans, that's up there for child-murder."

"The deil ye did? Rat, this is finding a mare's nest wi' a witness.--And
the man that spoke to Butler in the Park, and that was to meet wi' Jeanie
Deans at Muschat's Cairn--whew! lay that and that together? As sure as I
live he's been the father of the lassie's wean."

"There hae been waur guesses than that, I'm thinking," observed
Ratcliffe, turning his quid of tobacco in his cheek, and squirting out
the juice. "I heard something a while syne about his drawing up wi' a
bonny quean about the Pleasaunts, and that it was a' Wilson could do to
keep him frae marrying her."

Here a city officer entered, and told Sharpitlaw that they had the woman
in custody whom he had directed them to bring before him.

"It's little matter now," said he, "the thing is taking another turn;
however, George, ye may bring her in."

The officer retired, and introduced, upon his return, a tall, strapping
wench of eighteen or twenty, dressed, fantastically, in a sort of blue
riding-jacket, with tarnished lace, her hair clubbed like that of a man,
a Highland bonnet, and a bunch of broken feathers, a riding-skirt (or
petticoat) of scarlet camlet, embroidered with tarnished flowers. Her
features were coarse and masculine, yet at a little distance, by dint of
very bright wild-looking black eyes, an aquiline nose, and a commanding
profile, appeared rather handsome. She flourished the switch she held in
her hand, dropped a courtesy as low as a lady at a birth-night
introduction, recovered herself seemingly according to Touchstone's
directions to Audrey, and opened the conversation without waiting till
any questions were asked.

"God gie your honour gude-e'en, and mony o' them, bonny Mr.
Sharpitlaw!--Gude-e'en to ye, Daddie Ratton--they tauld me ye were
hanged, man; or did ye get out o' John Dalgleish's hands like
half-hangit Maggie Dickson?"

"Whisht, ye daft jaud," said Ratcliffe, "and hear what's said to ye."

"Wi' a' my heart, Ratton. Great preferment for poor Madge to be brought
up the street wi' a grand man, wi' a coat a' passemented wi' worset-lace,
to speak wi' provosts, and bailies, and town-clerks, and prokitors, at
this time o' day--and the haill town looking at me too--This is honour on
earth for ance!"

"Ay, Madge," said Mr. Sharpitlaw, in a coaxing tone; "and ye're dressed
out in your braws, I see; these are not your every-days' claiths ye have
on."

"Deil be in my fingers, then!" said Madge--"Eh, sirs!" (observing Butler
come into the apartment), "there's a minister in the Tolbooth--wha will
ca' it a graceless place now?--I'se warrant he's in for the gude auld
cause--but it's be nae cause o' mine," and off she went into a song--


"Hey for cavaliers, ho for cavaliers,
Dub a dub, dub a dub,
Have at old Beelzebub,--
Oliver's squeaking for fear."

"Did you ever see that mad woman before?" said Sharpitlaw to Butler.

"Not to my knowledge, sir," replied Butler.

"I thought as much," said the procurator-fiscal, looking towards
Ratcliffe, who answered his glance with a nod of acquiescence and
intelligence.--

"But that is Madge Wildfire, as she calls herself," said the man of law
to Butler.

"Ay, that I am," said Madge, "and that I have been ever since I was
something better--Heigh ho"--(and something like melancholy dwelt on her
features for a minute)--"But I canna mind when that was--it was lang
syne, at ony rate, and I'll ne'er fash my thumb about it.--

           I glance like the wildfire through country and town;
               I'm seen on the causeway--I'm seen on the down;
           The lightning that flashes so bright and so free,
               Is scarcely so blithe or so bonny as me."

"Hand your tongue, ye skirling limmer!" said the officer who had acted as
master of the ceremonies to this extraordinary performer, and who was
rather scandalised at the freedom of her demeanour before a person of Mr.
Sharpitlaw's importance--"haud your tongue, or I'se gie ye something to
skirl for!"

"Let her alone, George," said Sharpitlaw, "dinna put her out o' tune; I
hae some questions to ask her--But first, Mr. Butler, take another look
of her."

"Do sae, minister--do sae," cried Madge; "I am as weel worth looking at
as ony book in your aught.--And I can say the single carritch, and the
double carritch, and justification, and effectual calling, and the
assembly of divines at Westminster, that is" (she added in a low tone),
"I could say them ance--but it's lang syne--and ane forgets, ye ken." And
poor Madge heaved another deep sigh.

"Weel, sir," said Mr. Sharpitlaw to Butler, "what think ye now?"

"As I did before," said Butler; "that I never saw the poor demented
creature in my life before."

"Then she is not the person whom you said the rioters last night
described as Madge Wildfire?"

"Certainly not," said Butler. "They may be near the same height, for they
are both tall, but I see little other resemblance."

"Their dress, then, is not alike?" said Sharpitlaw.

"Not in the least," said Butler.

"Madge, my bonny woman," said Sharpitlaw, in the same coaxing manner,
"what did ye do wi' your ilka-day's claise yesterday?"

"I dinna mind," said Madge.

"Where was ye yesterday at e'en, Madge?"

"I dinna mind ony thing about yesterday," answered Madge; "ae day is
eneugh for ony body to wun ower wi' at a time, and ower muckle
sometimes."

"But maybe, Madge, ye wad mind something about it, if I was to gie ye
this half-crown?" said Sharpitlaw, taking out the piece of money.

"That might gar me laugh, but it couldna gar me mind."

"But, Madge," continued Sharpitlaw, "were I to send you to the workhouse
in Leith Wynd, and gar Jock Daigleish lay the tawse on your back--"

"That wad gar me greet," said Madge, sobbing, "but it couldna gar me
mind, ye ken."

"She is ower far past reasonable folks' motives, sir," said Ratcliffe,
"to mind siller, or John Dalgleish, or the cat-and-nine-tails either; but
I think I could gar her tell us something."

"Try her, then, Ratcliffe," said Sharpitlaw, "for I am tired of her crazy
pate, and be d--d to her."

"Madge," said Ratcliffe, "hae ye ony joes now?"

"An ony body ask ye, say ye dinna ken.--Set him to be speaking of my
joes, auld Daddie Ratton!"

"I dare say, ye hae deil ane?"

"See if I haena then," said Madge, with the toss of the head of affronted
beauty--"there's Rob the Ranter, and Will Fleming, and then there's
Geordie Robertson, lad--that's Gentleman Geordie--what think ye o' that?"

Ratcliffe laughed, and, winking to the procurator-fiscal, pursued the
inquiry in his own way. "But, Madge, the lads only like ye when ye hae on
your braws--they wadna touch you wi' a pair o' tangs when you are in your
auld ilka-day rags."

"Ye're a leeing auld sorrow then," replied the fair one; "for Gentle
Geordie Robertson put my ilka-day's claise on his ain bonny sell
yestreen, and gaed a' through the town wi' them; and gawsie and grand he
lookit, like ony queen in the land."

"I dinna believe a word o't," said Ratcliffe, with another wink to the
procurator. "Thae duds were a' o' the colour o' moonshine in the water,
I'm thinking, Madge--The gown wad be a sky-blue scarlet, I'se warrant
ye?"

"It was nae sic thing," said Madge, whose unretentive memory let out, in
the eagerness of contradiction, all that she would have most wished to
keep concealed, had her judgment been equal to her inclination. "It was
neither scarlet nor sky-blue, but my ain auld brown threshie-coat of a
short-gown, and my mother's auld mutch, and my red rokelay--and he gied
me a croun and a kiss for the use o' them, blessing on his bonny
face--though it's been a dear ane to me."

"And where did he change his clothes again, hinnie?" said Sharpitlaw, in
his most conciliatory manner.

"The procurator's spoiled a'," observed Ratcliffe, drily. And it was even
so; for the question, put in so direct a shape, immediately awakened
Madge to the propriety of being reserved upon those very topics on which
Ratcliffe had indirectly seduced her to become communicative.

"What was't ye were speering at us, sir?" she resumed, with an appearance
of stolidity so speedily assumed, as showed there was a good deal of
knavery mixed with her folly.

"I asked you," said the procurator, "at what hour, and to what place,
Robertson brought back your clothes."

"Robertson?--Lord hand a care o' us! what Robertson?"

"Why, the fellow we were speaking of, Gentle Geordie, as you call him."

"Geordie Gentle!" answered Madge, with well-feigned amazement--"I dinna
ken naebody they ca' Geordie Gentle."

"Come, my jo," said Sharpitlaw, "this will not do; you must tell us what
you did with these clothes of yours."

Madge Wildfire made no answer, unless the question may seem connected
with the snatch of a song with which she indulged the embarrassed
investigator:--

      "What did ye wi' the bridal ring--bridal ring--bridal ring?
      What did ye wi' your wedding ring, ye little cutty quean, O?
             I gied it till a sodger, a sodger, a sodger,
        I gied it till a sodger, an auld true love o' mine, O."

Of all the madwomen who have sung and said, since the days of Hamlet the
Dane, if Ophelia be the most affecting, Madge Wildfire was the most
provoking.

The procurator-fiscal was in despair. "I'll take some measures with this
d--d Bess of Bedlam," said he, "that shall make her find her tongue."

"Wi' your favour, sir," said Ratcliffe, "better let her mind settle a
little--Ye have aye made out something."

"True," said the official person; "a brown short-gown, mutch, red
rokelay--that agrees with your Madge Wildfire, Mr. Butler?" Butler agreed
that it did so. "Yes, there was a sufficient motive for taking this crazy
creature's dress and name, while he was about such a job."

"And I am free to say _now,_" said Ratcliffe

"When you see it has come out without you," interrupted Sharpitlaw.

"Just sae, sir," reiterated Ratcliffe. "I am free to say now, since it's
come out otherwise, that these were the clothes I saw Robertson wearing
last night in the jail, when he was at the head of the rioters."

"That's direct evidence," said Sharpitlaw; "stick to that, Rat--I will
report favourably of you to the provost, for I have business for you
to-night. It wears late; I must home and get a snack, and I'll be back in
the evening. Keep Madge with you, Ratcliffe, and try to get her into a
good tune again." So saying he left the prison.



CHAPTER SIXTEENTH.


                 And some they whistled--and some they sang,
                         And some did loudly say,
                 Whenever Lord Barnard's horn it blew,
                        "Away, Musgrave away!"
                                 Ballad of Little Musgrave.

When the man of office returned to the Heart of Mid-Lothian, he resumed
his conference with Ratcliffe, of whose experience and assistance he now
held himself secure. "You must speak with this wench, Rat--this Effie
Deans--you must sift her a wee bit; for as sure as a tether she will ken
Robertson's haunts--till her, Rat--till her without delay."

"Craving your pardon, Mr. Sharpitlaw," said the turnkey elect, "that's
what I am not free to do."

"Free to do, man? what the deil ails ye now?--I thought we had settled a'
that?"

"I dinna ken, sir," said Ratcliffe; "I hae spoken to this Effie--she's
strange to this place and to its ways, and to a' our ways, Mr.
Sharpitlaw; and she greets, the silly tawpie, and she's breaking her
heart already about this wild chield; and were she the mean's o' taking
him, she wad break it outright."

"She wunna hae time, lad," said Sharpitlaw; "the woodie will hae it's ain
o' her before that--a woman's heart takes a lang time o' breaking."

"That's according to the stuff they are made o' sir," replied
Ratcliffe--"But to make a lang tale short, I canna undertake the job.
It gangs against my conscience."

"_Your_ conscience, Rat?" said Sharpitlaw, with a sneer, which the reader
will probably think very natural upon the occasion.

"Ou ay, sir," answered Ratcliffe, calmly, "just my conscience; a'body has
a conscience, though it may be ill wunnin at it. I think mine's as weel
out o' the gate as maist folk's are; and yet it's just like the noop of
my elbow, it whiles gets a bit dirl on a corner."

"Weel, Rat," replied Sharpitlaw, "since ye are nice, I'll speak to the
hussy mysell."

Sharpitlaw, accordingly, caused himself to be introduced into the little
dark apartment tenanted by the unfortunate Effie Deans. The poor girl was
seated on her little flock-bed, plunged in a deep reverie. Some food
stood on the table, of a quality better than is usually supplied to
prisoners, but it was untouched. The person under whose care she was more
particularly placed, said, "that sometimes she tasted naething from the
tae end of the four-and-twenty hours to the t'other, except a drink of
water."

Sharpitlaw took a chair, and, commanding the turnkey to retire, he opened
the conversation, endeavouring to throw into his tone and countenance as
much commiseration as they were capable of expressing, for the one was
sharp and harsh, the other sly, acute, and selfish.

"How's a' wi' ye, Effie?--How d'ye find yoursell, hinny?"

A deep sigh was the only answer.

"Are the folk civil to ye, Effie?--it's my duty to inquire."

"Very civil, sir," said Effie, compelling herself to answer, yet hardly
knowing what she said.

"And your victuals," continued Sharpitlaw, in the same condoling
tone,--"do you get what you like?--or is there onything you would
particularly fancy, as your health seems but silly?"

"It's a' very weel, sir, I thank ye," said the poor prisoner, in a tone
how different from the sportive vivacity of those of the Lily of St.
Leonard's!--"it's a' very gude--ower gude for me."

"He must have been a great villain, Effie, who brought you to this pass,"
said Sharpitlaw.

The remark was dictated partly by a natural feeling, of which even he
could not divest himself, though accustomed to practise on the passions
of others, and keep a most heedful guard over his own, and partly by his
wish to introduce the sort of conversation which might, best serve his
immediate purpose. Indeed, upon the present occasion, these mixed motives
of feeling and cunning harmonised together wonderfully; for, said
Sharpitlaw to himself, the greater rogue Robertson is, the more will be
the merit of bringing him to justice. "He must have been a great villain,
indeed," he again reiterated; "and I wish I had the skelping o' him."

"I may blame mysell mair than him," said Effie; "I was bred up to ken
better; but he, poor fellow,"--(she stopped).

"Was a thorough blackguard a' his life, I dare say," said Sharpitlaw.
"A stranger he was in this country, and a companion of that lawless
vagabond, Wilson, I think, Effie?"

"It wad hae been dearly telling him that he had ne'er seen Wilson's
face."

"That's very true that you are saying, Effie," said Sharpitlaw. "Where
was't that Robertson and you were used to howff thegither? Somegate about
the Laigh Calton, I am thinking."

The simple and dispirited girl had thus far followed Mr. Sharpitlaw's
lead, because he had artfully adjusted his observations to the thoughts
he was pretty certain must be passing through her own mind, so that her
answers became a kind of thinking aloud, a mood into which those who are
either constitutionally absent in mind, or are rendered so by the
temporary pressure of misfortune, may be easily led by a skilful train of
suggestions. But the last observation of the procurator-fiscal was too
much of the nature of a direct interrogatory, and it broke the charm
accordingly.

"What was it that I was saying?" said Effie, starting up from her
reclining posture, seating herself upright, and hastily shading her
dishevelled hair back from her wasted but still beautiful countenance.
She fixed her eyes boldly and keenly upon Sharpitlaw--"You are too much
of a gentleman, sir,--too much of an honest man, to take any notice of
what a poor creature like me says, that can hardly ca' my senses my
ain--God help me!"

"Advantage!--I would be of some advantage to you if I could," said
Sharpitlaw, in a soothing tone; "and I ken naething sae likely to serve
ye, Effie, as gripping this rascal, Robertson."

"O dinna misca' him, sir, that never misca'd you!--Robertson?--I am sure
I had naething to say against ony man o' the name, and naething will I
say."

"But if you do not heed your own misfortune, Effie, you should mind what
distress he has brought on your family," said the man of law.

"O, Heaven help me!" exclaimed poor Effie--"My poor father--my dear
Jeanie--O, that's sairest to bide of a'! O, sir, if you hae ony
kindness--if ye hae ony touch of compassion--for a' the folk I see here
are as hard as the wa'-stanes--If ye wad but bid them let my sister
Jeanie in the next time she ca's! for when I hear them put her awa frae
the door, and canna climb up to that high window to see sae muckle as
her gown-tail, it's like to pit me out o' my judgment." And she looked
on him with a face of entreaty, so earnest, yet so humble, that she
fairly shook the steadfast purpose of his mind.

"You shall see your sister," he began, "if you'll tell me,"--then
interrupting himself, he added, in a more hurried tone,--"no, d--n it,
you shall see your sister whether you tell me anything or no." So saying,
he rose up and left the apartment.

When he had rejoined Ratcliffe, he observed, "You are right, Ratton;
there's no making much of that lassie. But ae thing I have cleared--that
is, that Robertson has been the father of the bairn, and so I will wager
a boddle it will be he that's to meet wi' Jeanie Deans this night at
Muschat's Cairn, and there we'll nail him, Rat, or my name is not Gideon
Sharpitlaw."

"But," said Ratcliffe, perhaps because he was in no hurry to see anything
which was like to be connected with the discovery and apprehension of
Robertson, "an that were the case, Mr. Butler wad hae kend the man in the
King's Park to be the same person wi' him in Madge Wildfire's claise,
that headed the mob."

"That makes nae difference, man," replied Sharpitlaw--"the dress, the
light, the confusion, and maybe a touch o' a blackit cork, or a slake o'
paint-hout, Ratton, I have seen ye dress your ainsell, that the deevil ye
belang to durstna hae made oath t'ye."

"And that's true, too," said Ratcliffe.

"And besides, ye donnard carle," continued Sharpitlaw, triumphantly, "the
minister _did_ say that he thought he knew something of the features of
the birkie that spoke to him in the Park, though he could not charge his
memory where or when he had seen them."

"It's evident, then, your honour will be right," said Ratcliffe.

"Then, Rat, you and I will go with the party oursells this night, and see
him in grips or we are done wi' him."

"I seena muckle use I can be o' to your honour," said Ratcliffe,
reluctantly.

"Use?" answered Sharpitlaw--"You can guide the party--you ken the ground.
Besides, I do not intend to quit sight o' you, my good friend, till I
have him in hand."

"Weel, sir," said Ratcliffe, but in no joyful tone of acquiescence; "Ye
maun hae it your ain way--but mind he's a desperate man."

"We shall have that with us," answered Sharpitlaw, "that will settle him,
if it is necessary."

"But, sir," answered Ratcliffe, "I am sure I couldna undertake to guide
you to Muschat's Cairn in the night-time; I ken the place as mony does,
in fair day-light, but how to find it by moonshine, amang sae mony crags
and stanes, as like to each other as the collier to the deil, is mair
than I can tell. I might as soon seek moonshine in water."

"What's the meaning o' this, Ratcliffe?" said Sharpitlaw, while he fixed
his eye on the recusant, with a fatal and ominous expression,--"Have you
forgotten that you are still under sentence of death?"

"No, sir," said Ratcliffe, "that's a thing no easily put out o' memory;
and if my presence be judged necessary, nae doubt I maun gang wi' your
honour. But I was gaun to tell your honour of ane that has mair skeel o'
the gate than me, and that's e'en Madge Wildfire."

"The devil she has!--Do you think me as mad as she, is, to trust to her
guidance on such an occasion?"

"Your honour is the best judge," answered Ratcliffe; "but I ken I can
keep her in tune, and garr her haud the straight path--she often sleeps
out, or rambles about amang thae hills the haill simmer night, the daft
limmer."

"Weel, Ratcliffe," replied the procurator-fiscal, "if you think she can
guide us the right way--but take heed to what you are about--your life
depends on your behaviour."

"It's a sair judgment on a man," said Ratcliffe, "when he has ance gane
sae far wrang as I hae done, that deil a bit he can be honest, try't
whilk way he will."

Such was the reflection of Ratcliffe, when he was left for a few minutes
to himself, while the retainer of justice went to procure a proper
warrant, and give the necessary directions.

The rising moon saw the whole party free from the walls of the city, and
entering upon the open ground. Arthur's Seat, like a couchant lion of
immense size--Salisbury Crags, like a huge belt or girdle of granite,
were dimly visible. Holding their path along the southern side of the
Canongate, they gained the Abbey of Holyrood House, and from thence found
their way by step and stile into the King's Park. They were at first four
in number--an officer of justice and Sharpitlaw, who were well armed with
pistols and cutlasses; Ratcliffe, who was not trusted with weapons, lest,
he might, peradventure, have used them on the wrong side; and the female.
But at the last stile, when they entered the Chase, they were joined by
other two officers, whom Sharpitlaw, desirous to secure sufficient force
for his purpose, and at the same time to avoid observation, had directed
to wait for him at this place. Ratcliffe saw this accession of strength
with some disquietude, for he had hitherto thought it likely that
Robertson, who was a bold, stout, and active young fellow, might have
made his escape from Sharpitlaw and the single officer, by force or
agility, without his being implicated in the matter. But the present
strength of the followers of justice was overpowering, and the only mode
of saving Robertson (which the old sinner was well disposed to do,
providing always he could accomplish his purpose without compromising his
own safety), must be by contriving that he should have some signal of
their approach. It was probably with this view that Ratcliffe had
requested the addition of Madge to the party, having considerable
confidence in her propensity to exert her lungs. Indeed, she had already
given them so many specimens of her clamorous loquacity, that Sharpitlaw
half determined to send her back with one of the officers, rather than
carry forward in his company a person so extremely ill qualified to be a
guide in a secret expedition. It seemed, too, as if the open air, the
approach to the hills, and the ascent of the moon, supposed to be so
portentous over those whose brain is infirm, made her spirits rise in a
degree tenfold more loquacious than she had hitherto exhibited. To
silence her by fair means seemed impossible; authoritative commands and
coaxing entreaties she set alike at defiance, and threats only made her
sulky and altogether intractable.

"Is there no one of you," said Sharpitlaw, impatiently, "that knows the
way to this accursed place--this Nichol Muschat's Cairn--excepting this
mad clavering idiot?"

"Deil ane o' them kens it except mysell," exclaimed Madge; "how suld
they, the puir fule cowards! But I hae sat on the grave frae batfleeing
time till cook-crow, and had mony a fine crack wi' Muschat and Ailie
Muschat, that are lying sleeping below."

"The devil take your crazy brain," said Sharpitlaw; "will you not allow
the men to answer a question?"

The officers obtaining a moment's audience while Ratcliffe diverted
Madge's attention, declared that, though they had a general knowledge of
the spot, they could not undertake to guide the party to it by the
uncertain light of the moon, with such accuracy as to insure success to
their expedition.

"What shall we do, Ratcliffe?" said Sharpitlaw, "if he sees us before we
see him,--and that's what he is certain to do, if we go strolling about,
without keeping the straight road,--we may bid gude day to the job, and I
would rather lose one hundred pounds, baith for the credit of the police,
and because the provost says somebody maun be hanged for this job o'
Porteous, come o't what likes."

"I think," said Ratcliffe, "we maun just try Madge; and I'll see if I can
get her keepit in ony better order. And at ony rate, if he suld hear her
skirting her auld ends o' sangs, he's no to ken for that that there's
onybody wi' her."

"That's true," said Sharpitlaw; "and if he thinks her alone, he's as like
to come towards her as to rin frae her. So set forward--we hae lost ower
muckle time already--see to get her to keep the right road."

"And what sort o' house does Nichol Muschat and his wife keep now?" said
Ratcliffe to the mad woman, by way of humouring her vein of folly; "they
were but thrawn folk lang syne, an a' tales be true."

"Ou, ay, ay, ay--but a's forgotten now," replied Madge, in the
confidential tone of a gossip giving the history of her next-door
neighbour--"Ye see, I spoke to them mysell, and tauld them byganes suld
be byganes--her throat's sair misguggled and mashackered though; she
wears her corpse-sheet drawn weel up to hide it, but that canna hinder
the bluid seiping through, ye ken. I wussed her to wash it in St.
Anthony's Well, and that will cleanse if onything can--But they say bluid
never bleaches out o' linen claith--Deacon Sanders's new cleansing draps
winna do't--I tried them mysell on a bit rag we hae at hame that was
mailed wi' the bluid of a bit skirting wean that was hurt some gate, but
out it winna come--Weel, yell say that's queer; but I will bring it out
to St. Anthony's blessed Well some braw night just like this, and I'll
cry up Ailie Muschat, and she and I will hae a grand bouking-washing, and
bleach our claes in the beams of the bonny Lady Moon, that's far
pleasanter to me than the sun--the sun's ower het, and ken ye, cummers,
my brains are het eneugh already. But the moon, and the dew, and the
night-wind, they are just like a caller kail-blade laid on my brow; and
whiles I think the moon just shines on purpose to pleasure me, when
naebody sees her but mysell."

This raving discourse she continued with prodigious volubility, walking
on at a great pace, and dragging Ratcliffe along with her, while he
endeavoured, in appearance at least, if not in reality, to induce her to
moderate her voice.

All at once she stopped short upon the top of a little hillock, gazed
upward fixedly, and said not one word for the space of five minutes.
"What the devil is the matter with her now?" said Sharpitlaw to
Ratcliffe--"Can you not get her forward?"

"Ye maun just take a grain o' patience wi' her, sir," said Ratcliffe.
"She'll no gae a foot faster than she likes herself."

"D--n her," said Sharpitlaw, "I'll take care she has her time in Bedlam
or Bridewell, or both, for she's both mad and mischievous."

In the meanwhile, Madge, who had looked very pensive when she first
stopped, suddenly burst into a vehement fit of laughter, then paused and
sighed bitterly,--then was seized with a second fit of laughter--then,
fixing her eyes on the moon, lifted up her voice and sung,--

            "Good even, good fair moon, good even to thee;
                 I prithee, dear moon, now show to me
             The form and the features, the speech and degree,
                 Of the man that true lover of mine shall be.

But I need not ask that of the bonny Lady Moon--I ken that weel eneugh
mysell--_true_-love though he wasna--But naebody shall sae that I ever
tauld a word about the matter--But whiles I wish the bairn had
lived--Weel, God guide us, there's a heaven aboon us a',"--(here she
sighed bitterly), "and a bonny moon, and sterns in it forby" (and here
she laughed once more).

"Are we to stand, here all night!" said Sharpitlaw, very impatiently.
"Drag her forward."

"Ay, sir," said Ratcliffe, "if we kend whilk way to drag her, that would
settle it at ance.--Come, Madge, hinny," addressing her, "we'll no be in
time to see Nichol and his wife, unless ye show us the road."

"In troth and that I will, Ratton," said she, seizing him by the arm, and
resuming her route with huge strides, considering it was a female who
took them. "And I'll tell ye, Ratton, blithe will Nichol Muschat be to
see ye, for he says he kens weel there isna sic a villain out o' hell as
ye are, and he wad be ravished to hae a crack wi' you--like to like ye
ken--it's a proverb never fails--and ye are baith a pair o' the deevil's
peats I trow--hard to ken whilk deserves the hettest corner o' his
ingle-side."

Ratcliffe was conscience-struck, and could not forbear making an
involuntary protest against this classification. "I never shed blood," he
replied.

"But ye hae sauld it, Ratton--ye hae sauld blood mony a time. Folk kill
wi' the tongue as weel as wi' the hand--wi' the word as weel as wi' the
gulley!--

                     It is the 'bonny butcher lad,
                     That wears the sleeves of blue,
                     He sells the flesh on Saturday,
                         On Friday that he slew."

"And what is that I ain doing now?" thought Ratcliffe. "But I'll hae nae
wyte of Robertson's young bluid, if I can help it;" then speaking apart
to Madge, he asked her, "Whether she did not remember ony o' her auld
Sangs?"

"Mony a dainty ane," said Madge; "and blithely can I sing them, for
lightsome sangs make merry gate." And she sang,--


                 "When the glede's in the blue cloud,
                        The lavrock lies still;
                  When the hound's in the greenwood.
                       The hind keeps the hill."

"Silence her cursed noise, if you should throttle her," said Sharpitlaw;
"I see somebody yonder.--Keep close, my boys, and creep round the
shoulder of the height. George Poinder, stay you with Ratcliffe and tha
mad yelling bitch; and you other two, come with me round under the shadow
of the brae."

And he crept forward with the stealthy pace of an Indian savage, who
leads his band to surprise an unsuspecting party of some hostile tribe.
Ratcliffe saw them glide of, avoiding the moonlight, and keeping as much
in: the shade as possible.

"Robertson's done up," said he to himself; "thae young lads are aye sae
thoughtless. What deevil could he hae to say to Jeanie Deans, or to ony
woman on earth, that he suld gang awa and get his neck raxed for her? And
this mad quean, after cracking like a pen-gun, and skirling like a
pea-hen for the haill night, behoves just to hae hadden her tongue when
her clavers might have dune some gude! But it's aye the way wi' women; if
they ever hand their tongues ava', ye may swear it's for mischief. I wish
I could set her on again without this blood-sucker kenning what I am
doing. But he's as gleg as MacKeachan's elshin,* that ran through sax
plies of bendleather and half-an-inch into the king's heel."

* [_Elshin,_ a shoemaker's awl.]

He then began to hum, but in a very low and suppressed tone, the first
stanza of a favourite ballad of Wildfire's, the words of which bore some
distant analogy with the situation of Robertson, trusting that the power
of association would not fail to bring the rest to her mind:--

               "There's a bloodhound ranging Tinwald wood,
                      There's harness glancing sheen:
                There's a maiden sits on Tinwald brae,
                      And she sings loud between."

Madge had no sooner received the catch-word, than she vindicated
Ratcliffe's sagacity by setting off at score with the song:--

                "O sleep ye sound, Sir James, she said,
                      When ye suld rise and ride?
                There's twenty men, wi' bow and blade,
                      Are seeking where ye hide."

Though Ratcliffe was at a considerable distance from the spot called
Muschat's Cairn, yet his eyes, practised like those of a cat to penetrate
darkness, could mark that Robertson had caught the alarm. George Poinder,
less keen of sight, or less attentive, was not aware of his flight any
more than Sharpitlaw and his assistants, whose view, though they were
considerably nearer to the cairn, was intercepted by the broken nature of
the ground under which they were screening themselves. At length,
however, after the interval of five or six minutes, they also perceived
that Robertson had fled, and rushed hastily towards the place, while
Sharpitlaw called out aloud, in the harshest tones of a voice which
resembled a saw-mill at work, "Chase, lads--chase--haud the brae--I see
him on the edge of the hill!" Then hollowing back to the rear-guard of
his detachment, he issued his farther orders: "Ratcliffe, come here, and
detain the woman--George, run and kepp the stile at the Duke's
Walk--Ratcliffe, come here directly--but first knock out that mad
bitch's brains!"

"Ye had better rin for it, Madge," said Ratcliffe, "for it's ill dealing
wi' an angry man."

Madge Wildfire was not so absolutely void of common sense as not to
understand this innuendo; and while Ratcliffe, in seemingly anxious haste
of obedience, hastened to the spot where Sharpitlaw waited to deliver up
Jeanie Deans to his custody, she fled with all the despatch she could
exert in an opposite direction. Thus the whole party were separated, and
in rapid motion of flight or pursuit, excepting Ratcliffe and Jeanie,
whom, although making no attempt to escape, he held fast by the cloak,
and who remained standing by Muschat's Cairn.



CHAPTER SEVENTEENTH.


               You have paid the heavens your function,
               and the prisoner the very debt of your calling.
                          Measure for Measure.

Jeanie Deans,--for here our story unites itself with that part of the
narrative which broke off at the end of the fourteenth chapter,--while
she waited, in terror and amazement, the hasty advance of three or four
men towards her, was yet more startled at their suddenly breaking
asunder, and giving chase in different directions to the late object of
her terror, who became at that moment, though she could not well assign a
reasonable cause, rather the cause of her interest. One of the party (it
was Sharpitlaw) came straight up to her, and saying, "Your name is Jeanie
Deans, and you are my prisoner," immediately added, "But if you will tell
me which way he ran I will let you go."

"I dinna ken, sir," was all the poor girl could utter; and, indeed, it is
the phrase which rises most readily to the lips of any person in her
rank, as the readiest reply to any embarrassing question.

"But," said Sharpitlaw, "ye _ken_ wha it was ye were speaking wi', my
leddy, on the hill side, and midnight sae near; ye surely ken _that,_ my
bonny woman?"

"I dinna ken, sir," again iterated Jeanie, who really did not comprehend
in her terror the nature of the questions which were so hastily put to
her in this moment of surprise.

"We will try to mend your memory by and by, hinny," said Sharpitlaw, and
shouted, as we have already told the reader, to Ratcliffe, to come up and
take charge of her, while he himself directed the chase after Robertson,
which he still hoped might be successful. As Ratcliffe approached,
Sharpitlaw pushed the young woman towards him with some rudeness, and
betaking himself to the more important object of his quest, began to
scale crags and scramble up steep banks, with an agility of which his
profession and his general gravity of demeanour would previously have
argued him incapable. In a few minutes there was no one within sight, and
only a distant halloo from one of the pursuers to the other, faintly
heard on the side of the hill, argued that there was any one within
hearing. Jeanie Deans was left in the clear moonlight, standing under the
guard of a person of whom she knew nothing, and, what was worse,
concerning whom, as the reader is well aware, she could have learned
nothing that would not have increased her terror.

When all in the distance was silent, Ratcliffe for the first time
addressed her, and it was in that cold sarcastic indifferent tone
familiar to habitual depravity, whose crimes are instigated by custom
rather than by passion. "This is a braw night for ye, dearie," he said,
attempting to pass his arm across her shoulder, "to be on the green hill
wi' your jo." Jeanie extricated herself from his grasp, but did not make
any reply.

"I think lads and lasses," continued the ruffian, "dinna meet at
Muschat's Cairn at midnight to crack nuts," and he again attempted to
take hold of her.

"If ye are an officer of justice, sir," said Jeanie, again eluding his
attempt to seize her, "ye deserve to have your coat stripped from your
back."

"Very true, hinny," said he, succeeding forcibly in his attempt to get
hold of her, "but suppose I should strip your cloak off first?"

"Ye are more a man, I am sure, than to hurt me, sir," said Jeanie; "for
God's sake have pity on a half-distracted creature!"

"Come, come," said Ratcliffe, "you're a good-looking wench, and should
not be cross-grained. I was going to be an honest man--but the devil has
this very day flung first a lawyer, and then a woman, in my gate. I'll
tell you what, Jeanie, they are out on the hill-side--if you'll be guided
by me, I'll carry you to a wee bit corner in the Pleasance, that I ken o'
in an auld wife's, that a' the prokitors o' Scotland wot naething o', and
we'll send Robertson word to meet us in Yorkshire, for there is a set o'
braw lads about the midland counties, that I hae dune business wi' before
now, and sae we'll leave Mr. Sharpitlaw to whistle on his thumb."

It was fortunate for Jeanie, in an emergency like the present, that she
possessed presence of mind and courage, so soon as the first hurry of
surprise had enabled her to rally her recollection. She saw the risk she
was in from a ruffian, who not only was such by profession, but had that
evening been stupifying, by means of strong liquors, the internal
aversion which he felt at the business on which Sharpitlaw had resolved
to employ him.

"Dinna speak sae loud," said she, in a low voice; "he's up yonder."

"Who?--Robertson?" said Ratcliffe, eagerly.

"Ay," replied Jeanie; "up yonder;" and she pointed to the ruins of the
hermitage and chapel.

"By G--d, then," said Ratcliffe, "I'll make my ain of him, either one way
or other--wait for me here."

But no sooner had he set off as fast as he could run, towards the chapel,
than Jeanie started in an opposite direction, over high and low, on the
nearest path homeward. Her juvenile exercise as a herdswoman had put
"life and mettle" in her heels, and never had she followed Dustiefoot,
when the cows were in the corn, with half so much speed as she now
cleared the distance betwixt Muschat's Cairn and her father's cottage at
St. Leonard's. To lift the latch--to enter--to shut, bolt, and double
bolt the door--to draw against it a heavy article of furniture (which she
could not have moved in a moment of less energy), so as to make yet
farther provision against violence, was almost the work of a moment, yet
done with such silence as equalled the celerity.

Her next anxiety was upon her father's account, and she drew silently to
the door of his apartment, in order to satisfy herself whether he had
been disturbed by her return. He was awake,--probably had slept but
little; but the constant presence of his own sorrows, the distance of his
apartment from the outer door of the house, and the precautions which
Jeanie had taken to conceal her departure and return, had prevented him
from being sensible of either. He was engaged in his devotions, and
Jeanie could distinctly hear him use these words:--"And for the other
child thou hast given me to be a comfort and stay to my old age, may her
days be long in the land, according to the promise thou hast given to
those who shall honour father and mother; may all her purchased and
promised blessings be multiplied upon her; keep her in the watches of the
night, and in the uprising of the morning, that all in this land may know
that thou hast not utterly hid thy face from those that seek thee in
truth and in sincerity." He was silent, but probably continued his
petition in the strong fervency of mental devotion.

His daughter retired to her apartment, comforted, that while she was
exposed to danger, her head had been covered by the prayers of the just
as by an helmet, and under the strong confidence, that while she walked
worthy of the protection of Heaven, she would experience its countenance.
It was in that moment that a vague idea first darted across her mind,
that something might yet be achieved for her sister's safety, conscious
as she now was of her innocence of the unnatural murder with which she
stood charged. It came, as she described it, on her mind, like a
sun-blink on a stormy sea; and although it instantly vanished, yet she
felt a degree of composure which she had not experienced for many days,
and could not help being strongly persuaded that, by some means or other,
she would be called upon, and directed, to work out her sister's
deliverance. She went to bed, not forgetting her usual devotions, the
more fervently made on account of her late deliverance, and she slept
soundly in spite of her agitation.

We must return to Ratcliffe, who had started, like a greyhound from the
slips when the sportsman cries halloo, as soon as Jeanie had pointed to
the ruins. Whether he meant to aid Robertson's escape, or to assist his
pursuers, may be very doubtful; perhaps he did not himself know but had
resolved to be guided by circumstances. He had no opportunity, however,
of doing either; for he had no sooner surmounted the steep ascent, and
entered under the broken arches of the rains, than a pistol was presented
at his head, and a harsh voice commanded him, in the king's name, to
surrender himself prisoner. "Mr. Sharpitlaw!" said Ratcliffe, surprised,
"is this your honour?"

"Is it only you, and be d--d to you?" answered the fiscal, still more
disappointed--"what made you leave the woman?"

"She told me she saw Robertson go into the ruins, so I made what haste I
could to cleek the callant."

"It's all over now," said Sharpitlaw; "we shall see no more of him
to-night; but he shall hide himself in a bean-hool, if he remains on
Scottish ground without my finding him. Call back the people, Ratcliffe."

Ratcliffe hollowed to the dispersed officers, who willingly obeyed the
signal; for probably there was no individual among them who would have
been much desirous of a rencontre, hand to hand, and at a distance from
his comrades, with such an active and desperate fellow as Robertson.

"And where are the two women?" said Sharpitlaw.

"Both made their heels serve them, I suspect," replied Ratcliffe, and he
hummed the end of the old song--

                 "Then hey play up the rin-awa bride,
                       For she has taen the gee."

"One woman," said Sharpitlaw,--for, like all rogues, he was a great
calumniator of the fair sex,*--"one woman is enough to dark the fairest
ploy that was ever planned; and how could I be such an ass as to expect
to carry through a job that had two in it?

* Note L. Calumniator of the Fair Sex.

But we know how to come by them both, if they are wanted, that's one good
thing."

Accordingly, like a defeated general, sad and sulky, he led back his
discomfited forces to the metropolis, and dismissed them for the night.

The next morning early, he was under the necessity of making his report
to the sitting magistrate of the day. The gentleman who occupied the
chair of office on this occasion (for the bailies, _Anglice',_ aldermen,
take it by rotation) chanced to be the same by whom Butler was committed,
a person very generally respected among his fellow-citizens. Something he
was of a humorist, and rather deficient in general education; but acute,
patient, and upright, possessed of a fortune acquired by honest industry
which made him perfectly independent; and, in short, very happily
qualified to support the respectability of the office, which he held.

Mr. Middleburgh had just taken his seat, and was debating in an animated
manner, with one of his colleagues, the doubtful chances of a game at
golf which they had played the day before, when a letter was delivered to
him, addressed "For Bailie Middleburgh; These: to be forwarded with
speed." It contained these words:--

"Sir,--I know you to be a sensible and a considerate magistrate, and one
who, as such, will be content to worship God, though the devil bid you. I
therefore expect that, notwithstanding the signature of this letter
acknowledges my share in an action, which, in a proper time and place, I
would not fear either to avow or to justify, you will not on that account
reject what evidence I place before you. The clergyman, Butler, is
innocent of all but involuntary presence at an action which he wanted
spirit to approve of, and from which he endeavoured, with his best set
phrases, to dissuade us. But it was not for him that it is my hint to
speak. There is a woman in your jail, fallen under the edge of a law so
cruel, that it has hung by the wall like unsecured armour, for twenty
years, and is now brought down and whetted to spill the blood of the most
beautiful and most innocent creature whom the walls of a prison ever
girdled in. Her sister knows of her innocence, as she communicated to her
that she was betrayed by a villain.--O that high Heaven

                Would put in every honest hand a whip,
                To scourge me such a villain through the world!

"I write distractedly--But this girl--this Jeanie Deans, is a peevish
puritan, superstitious and scrupulous after the manner of her sect; and I
pray your honour, for so my phrase must go, to press upon her, that her
sister's life depends upon her testimony. But though she should remain
silent, do not dare to think that the young woman is guilty--far less to
permit her execution. Remember the death of Wilson was fearfully avenged;
and those yet live who can compel you to drink the dregs of your poisoned
chalice.--I say, remember Porteous, and say that you had good counsel
from
                          "One of his Slayers."

The magistrate read over this extraordinary letter twice or thrice. At
first he was tempted to throw it aside as the production of a madman, so
little did "the scraps from play-books," as he termed the poetical
quotation, resemble the correspondence of a rational being. On a
re-perusal, however, he thought that, amid its incoherence, he could
discover something like a tone of awakened passion, though expressed in a
manner quaint and unusual.

"It is a cruelly severe statute," said the magistrate to his assistant,
"and I wish the girl could be taken from under the letter of it. A child
may have been born, and it may have been conveyed away while the mother
was insensible, or it may have perished for want of that relief which the
poor creature herself--helpless, terrified, distracted, despairing, and
exhausted--may have been unable to afford to it. And yet it is certain,
if the woman is found guilty under the statute, execution will follow.
The crime has been too common, and examples are necessary."

"But if this other wench," said the city-clerk, "can speak to her sister
communicating her situation, it will take the case from under the
statute."

"Very true," replied the Bailie; "and I will walk out one of these days
to St. Leonard's, and examine the girl myself. I know something of their
father Deans--an old true-blue Cameronian, who would see house and family
go to wreck ere he would disgrace his testimony by a sinful complying
with the defections of the times; and such he will probably uphold the
taking an oath before a civil magistrate. If they are to go on and
flourish with their bull-headed obstinacy, the legislature must pass an
act to take their affirmations, as in the case of Quakers. But surely
neither a father nor a sister will scruple in a case of this kind. As I
said before, I will go speak with them myself, when the hurry of this
Porteous investigation is somewhat over; their pride and spirit of
contradiction will be far less alarmed, than if they were called into a
court of justice at once."

"And I suppose Butler is to remain incarcerated?" said the city-clerk.

"For the present, certainly," said the magistrate. "But I hope soon to
set him at liberty upon bail."

"Do you rest upon the testimony of that light-headed letter?" asked the
clerk.

"Not very much," answered the Bailie; "and yet there is something
striking about it too--it seems the letter of a man beside himself,
either from great agitation, or some great sense of guilt."

"Yes," said the town-clerk, "it is very like the letter of a mad
strolling play-actor, who deserves to be hanged with all the rest of his
gang, as your honour justly observes."

"I was not quite so bloodthirsty," continued the magistrate. "But to the
point, Butler's private character is excellent; and I am given to
understand, by some inquiries I have been making this morning, that he
did actually arrive in town only the day before yesterday, so that it was
impossible he could have been concerned in any previous machinations of
these unhappy rioters, and it is not likely that he should have joined
them on a suddenty."

"There's no saying anent that--zeal catches fire at a slight spark as
fast as a brunstane match," observed the secretary. "I hae kend a
minister wad be fair gude-day and fair gude-e'en wi' ilka man in the
parochine, and hing just as quiet as a rocket on a stick, till ye
mentioned the word abjuration-oath, or patronage, or siclike, and then,
whiz, he was off, and up in the air an hundred miles beyond common
manners, common sense, and common comprehension."

"I do not understand," answered the burgher-magistrate, "that the young
man Butler's zeal is of so inflammable a character. But I will make
farther investigation. What other business is there before us?"

And they proceeded to minute investigations concerning the affair of
Porteous's death, and other affairs through which this history has no
occasion to trace them.

In the course of their business they were interrupted by an old woman of
the lower rank, extremely haggard in look, and wretched in her
appearance, who thrust herself into the council room.

"What do you want, gudewife?--Who are you?" said Bailie Middleburgh.

"What do I want!" replied she, in a sulky tone--"I want my bairn, or I
want naething frae nane o' ye, for as grand's ye are." And she went on
muttering to herself with the wayward spitefulness of age--"They maun hae
lordships and honours, nae doubt--set them up, the gutter-bloods! and
deil a gentleman amang them."--Then again addressing the sitting
magistrate, "Will _your honour_ gie me back my puir crazy bairn?--_His_
honour!--I hae kend the day when less wad ser'd him, the oe of a Campvere
skipper."

"Good woman," said the magistrate to this shrewish supplicant--"tell us
what it is you want, and do not interrupt the court."

"That's as muckle as till say, Bark, Bawtie, and be dune wi't!--I tell
ye," raising her termagant voice, "I want my bairn! is na that braid
Scots?"

"Who _are_ you?--who is your bairn?" demanded the magistrate.

"Wha am I?--wha suld I be, but Meg Murdockson, and wha suld my bairn be
but Magdalen Murdockson?--Your guard soldiers, and your constables, and
your officers, ken us weel eneugh when they rive the bits o' duds aff our
backs, and take what penny o' siller we hae, and harle us to the
Correctionhouse in Leith Wynd, and pettle us up wi' bread and water and
siclike sunkets."

"Who is she?" said the magistrate, looking round to some of his people.

"Other than a gude ane, sir," said one of the city officers, shrugging
his shoulders and smiling.

"Will ye say sae?" said the termagant, her eye gleaming with impotent
fury; "an I had ye amang the Figgat-Whins,* wadna I set my ten talents in
your wuzzent face for that very word?" and she suited the word to the
action, by spreading out a set of claws resembling those of St. George's
dragon on a country sign-post.

* [This was a name given to a tract of sand hillocks extending along the
sea-shore from Leith to Portobello, and which at this time were covered
with _whin_-bushes or furze.]

"What does she want here?" said the impatient magistrate--"Can she not
tell her business, or go away?"

"It's my bairn!--it's Magdalen Murdockson I'm wantin'," answered the
beldam, screaming at the highest pitch of her cracked and mistuned
voice--"havena I been telling ye sae this half-hour? And if ye are deaf,
what needs ye sit cockit up there, and keep folk scraughin' t'ye this
gate?"

"She wants her daughter, sir," said the same officer whose interference
had given the hag such offence before--"her daughter, who was taken up
last night--Madge Wildfire, as they ca' her."

"Madge Hellfire, as they ca' her!" echoed the beldam "and what business
has a blackguard like you to ca' an honest woman's bairn out o' her ain
name?"

"An _honest_ woman's bairn, Maggie?" answered the peace-officer, smiling
and shaking his head with an ironical emphasis on the adjective, and a
calmness calculated to provoke to madness the furious old shrew.

"If I am no honest now, I was honest ance," she replied; "and that's mair
than ye can say, ye born and bred thief, that never kend ither folks'
gear frae your ain since the day ye was cleckit. Honest, say ye?--ye
pykit your mother's pouch o' twalpennies Scots when ye were five years
auld, just as she was taking leave o' your father at the fit o' the
gallows."

"She has you there, George," said the assistants, and there was a general
laugh; for the wit was fitted for the meridian of the place where it was
uttered. This general applause somewhat gratified the passions of the old
hag; the "grim feature" smiled and even laughed--but it was a laugh of
bitter scorn. She condescended, however, as if appeased by the success of
her sally, to explain her business more distinctly, when the magistrate,
commanding silence, again desired her either to speak out her errand, or
to leave the place.

"Her bairn," she said, "_was_ her bairn, and she came to fetch her out of
ill haft and waur guiding. If she wasna sae wise as ither folk, few ither
folk had suffered as muckle as she had done; forby that she could fend
the waur for hersell within the four wa's of a jail. She could prove by
fifty witnesses, and fifty to that, that her daughter had never seen Jock
Porteous, alive or dead, since he had gien her a laundering wi' his cane,
the neger that he was! for driving a dead cat at the provost's wig on the
Elector of Hanover's birthday."

Notwithstanding the wretched appearance and violent demeanour of this
woman, the magistrate felt the justice of her argument, that her child
might be as dear to her as to a more fortunate and more amiable mother.
He proceeded to investigate the circumstances which had led to Madge
Murdockson's (or Wildfire's) arrest, and as it was clearly shown that she
had not been engaged in the riot, he contented himself with directing
that an eye should be kept upon her by the police, but that for the
present she should be allowed to return home with her mother. During the
interval of fetching Madge from the jail, the magistrate endeavoured to
discover whether her mother had been privy to the change of dress betwixt
that young woman and Robertson. But on this point he could obtain no
light. She persisted in declaring, that she had never seen Robertson
since his remarkable escape during service-time; and that, if her
daughter had changed clothes with him, it must have been during her
absence at a hamlet about two miles out of town, called Duddingstone,
where she could prove that she passed that eventful night. And, in fact,
one of the town-officers, who had been searching for stolen linen at the
cottage of a washer-woman in that village, gave his evidence, that he had
seen Maggie Murdockson there, whose presence had considerably increased
his suspicion of the house in which she was a visitor, in respect that he
considered her as a person of no good reputation.

"I tauld ye sae," said the hag; "see now what it is to hae a character,
gude or bad!--Now, maybe, after a', I could tell ye something about
Porteous that you council-chamber bodies never could find out, for as
muckle stir as ye mak."

All eyes were turned towards her--all ears were alert. "Speak out!" said
the magistrate.

"It will be for your ain gude," insinuated the town-clerk.

"Dinna keep the Bailie waiting," urged the assistants.

She remained doggedly silent for two or three minutes, casting around a
malignant and sulky glance, that seemed to enjoy the anxious suspense
with which they waited her answer. And then she broke forth at once,--"A'
that I ken about him is, that he was neither soldier nor gentleman, but
just a thief and a blackguard, like maist o' yoursells, dears--What will
ye gie me for that news, now?--He wad hae served the gude town lang or
provost or bailie wad hae fund that out, my jo!"

While these matters were in discussion, Madge Wildfire entered, and her
first exclamation was, "Eh! see if there isna our auld ne'er-do-weel
deevil's-buckie o' a mither--Hegh, sirs! but we are a hopeful family, to
be twa o' us in the Guard at ance--But there were better days wi' us
ance--were there na, mither?"

Old Maggie's eyes had glistened with something like an expression of
pleasure when she saw her daughter set at liberty. But either her natural
affection, like that of the tigress, could not be displayed without a
strain of ferocity, or there was something in the ideas which Madge's
speech awakened, that again stirred her cross and savage temper. "What
signifies what we, were, ye street-raking limmer!" she exclaimed, pushing
her daughter before her to the door, with no gentle degree of violence.
"I'se tell thee what thou is now--thou's a crazed hellicat Bess o'
Bedlam, that sall taste naething but bread and water for a fortnight, to
serve ye for the plague ye hae gien me--and ower gude for ye, ye idle
taupie!"

Madge, however, escaped from her mother at the door, ran back to the foot
of the table, dropped a very low and fantastic courtesy to the judge, and
said, with a giggling laugh,--"Our minnie's sair mis-set, after her
ordinar, sir--She'll hae had some quarrel wi' her auld gudeman--that's
Satan, ye ken, sirs." This explanatory note she gave in a low
confidential tone, and the spectators of that credulous generation did
not hear it without an involuntary shudder. "The gudeman and her disna
aye gree weel, and then I maun pay the piper; but my back's broad eneugh
to bear't a'--an' if she hae nae havings, that's nae reason why wiser
folk shouldna hae some." Here another deep courtesy, when the ungracious
voice of her mother was heard.

"Madge, ye limmer! If I come to fetch ye!"

"Hear till her," said Madge. "But I'll wun out a gliff the night for a'
that, to dance in the moonlight, when her and the gudeman will be
whirrying through the blue lift on a broom-shank, to see Jean Jap, that
they hae putten intill the Kirkcaldy Tolbooth--ay, they will hae a merry
sail ower Inchkeith, and ower a' the bits o' bonny waves that are
poppling and plashing against the rocks in the gowden glimmer o' the
moon, ye ken.--I'm coming, mother--I'm coming," she concluded, on hearing
a scuffle at the door betwixt the beldam and the officers, who were
endeavouring to prevent her re-entrance. Madge then waved her hand wildly
towards the ceiling, and sung, at the topmost pitch of her voice,

                                   "Up in the air,
                        On my bonny grey mare,
                        And I see, and I see, and I see her yet;"

and with a hop, skip, and jump, sprung out of the room, as the witches of
Macbeth used, in less refined days, to seem to fly upwards from the
stage.

Some weeks intervened before Mr. Middleburgh, agreeably to his benevolent
resolution, found an opportunity of taking a walk towards St. Leonard's,
in order to discover whether it might be possible to obtain the evidence
hinted at in the anonymous letter respecting Effie Deans.

In fact, the anxious perquisitions made to discover the murderers of
Porteous occupied the attention of all concerned with the administration
of justice.

In the course of these inquiries, two circumstances happened material to
our story. Butler, after a close investigation of his conduct, was
declared innocent of accession to the death of Porteous; but, as having
been present during the whole transaction, was obliged to find bail not
to quit his usual residence at Liberton, that he might appear as a
witness when called upon. The other incident regarded the disappearance
of Madge Wildfire and her mother from Edinburgh. When they were sought,
with the purpose of subjecting them to some farther interrogatories, it
was discovered by Mr. Sharpitlaw that they had eluded the observation of
the police, and left the city so soon as dismissed from the
council-chamber. No efforts could trace the place of their retreat.

In the meanwhile the excessive indignation of the Council of Regency, at
the slight put upon their authority by the murder of Porteous, had
dictated measures, in which their own extreme desire of detecting the
actors in that conspiracy were consulted in preference to the temper of
the people and the character of their churchmen. An act of Parliament was
hastily passed, offering two hundred pounds reward to those who should
inform against any person concerned in the deed, and the penalty of
death, by a very unusual and severe enactment, was denounced against
those who should harbour the guilty. But what was chiefly accounted
exceptionable, was a clause, appointing the act to be read in churches by
the officiating clergyman, on the first Sunday of every month, for a
certain period, immediately before the sermon. The ministers who should
refuse to comply with this injunction were declared, for the first
offence, incapable of sitting or voting in any church judicature, and for
the second, incapable of holding any ecclesiastical preferment in
Scotland.

This last order united in a common cause those who might privately
rejoice in Porteous's death, though they dared not vindicate the manner
of it, with the more scrupulous Presbyterians, who held that even the
pronouncing the name of the "Lords Spiritual" in a Scottish pulpit was,
_quodammodo,_ an acknowledgment of prelacy, and that the injunction of
the legislature was an interference of the civil government with the _jus
divinum_ of Presbytery, since to the General Assembly alone, as
representing the invisible head of the kirk, belonged the sole and
exclusive right of regulating whatever pertained to public worship. Very
many also, of different political or religious sentiments, and therefore
not much moved by these considerations, thought they saw, in so violent
an act of parliament, a more vindictive spirit than became the
legislature of a great country, and something like an attempt to trample
upon the rights and independence of Scotland. The various steps adopted
for punishing the city of Edinburgh, by taking away her charter and
liberties, for what a violent and overmastering mob had done within her
walls, were resented by many, who thought a pretext was too hastily taken
for degrading the ancient metropolis of Scotland. In short, there was
much heart-burning, discontent, and disaffection, occasioned by these
ill-considered measures.*

* The magistrates were closely interrogated before the House of Peers,
concerning the particulars of the Porteous Mob, and the _patois_ in which
these functionaries made their answers, sounded strange in the ears of
the  Southern nobles. The Duke of Newcastle having demanded to know with
what kind of shot the guard which Porteous commanded had loaded their
muskets, was answered, naively, "Ow, just sic as ane shoots _dukes and
fools_ with." This reply was considered as a contempt of the House of
Lords, and the Provost would have suffered accordingly, but that the Duke
of Argyle explained, that the expression, properly rendered into English,
meant _ducks and waterfowls._

 Amidst these heats and dissensions, the trial of Effie Deans, after she
had been many weeks imprisoned, was at length about to be brought
forward, and Mr. Middleburgh found leisure to inquire into the evidence
concerning her. For this purpose, he chose a fine day for his walk
towards her father's house.

The excursion into the country was somewhat distant, in the opinion of a
burgess of those days, although many of the present inhabit suburban
villas considerably beyond the spot to which we allude. Three-quarters of
an hour's walk, however, even at a pace of magisterial gravity, conducted
our benevolent office-bearer to the Crags of St. Leonard's, and the
humble mansion of David Deans.

The old man was seated on the deas, or turf-seat, at the end of his
cottage, busied in mending his cart-harness with his own hands; for in
those days any sort of labour which required a little more skill than
usual fell to the share of the goodman himself, and that even when he was
well to pass in the world. With stern and austere gravity he persevered
in his task, after having just raised his head to notice the advance of
the stranger. It would have been impossible to have discovered, from his
countenance and manner, the internal feelings of agony with which he
contended. Mr. Middleburgh waited an instant, expecting Deans would in
some measure acknowledge his presence, and lead into conversation; but,
as he seemed determined to remain silent, he was himself obliged to speak
first.

"My name is Middleburgh--Mr. James Middleburgh, one of the present
magistrates of the city of Edinburgh."

"It may be sae," answered Deans laconically, and without interrupting his
labour.

"You must understand," he continued, "that the duty of a magistrate is
sometimes an unpleasant one."

"It may be sae," replied David; "I hae naething to say in the contrair;"
and he was again doggedly silent.

"You must be aware," pursued the magistrate, "that persons in my
situation are often obliged to make painful and disagreeable inquiries of
individuals, merely because it is their bounden duty."

"It may be sae," again replied Deans; "I hae naething to say anent it,
either the tae way or the t'other. But I do ken there was ance in a day a
just and God-fearing magistracy in yon town o' Edinburgh, that did not
bear the sword in vain, but were a terror to evil-doers, and a praise to
such as kept the path. In the glorious days of auld worthy faithfu'
Provost Dick,* when there was a true and faithfu' General Assembly of

* Note M. Sir William Dick of Braid.

the Kirk, walking hand in hand with the real noble Scottish-hearted
barons, and with the magistrates of this and other towns, gentles,
burgesses, and commons of all ranks, seeing with one eye, hearing with
one ear, and upholding the ark with their united strength--And then folk
might see men deliver up their silver to the state's use, as if it had
been as muckle sclate stanes. My father saw them toom the sacks of
dollars out o' Provost Dick's window intill the carts that carried them
to the army at Dunse Law; and if ye winna believe his testimony, there is
the window itsell still standing in the Luckenbooths--I think it's a
claith-merchant's booth the day*--at the airn stanchells, five doors
abune Gossford's Close.

* I think so too--But if the reader be curious, he may consult Mr.
Chambers's Traditions of Edinburgh.

--But now we haena sic spirit amang us; we think mair about the warst
wallydraigle in our ain byre, than about the blessing which the angel of
the covenant gave to the Patriarch even at Peniel and Mahanaim, or the
binding obligation of our national vows; and we wad rather gie a pund
Scots to buy an unguent to clear out auld rannell-trees and our beds o'
the English bugs as they ca' them, than we wad gie a plack to rid the
land of the swarm of Arminian caterpillars, Socinian pismires, and
deistical Miss Katies, that have ascended out of the bottomless pit, to
plague this perverse, insidious, and lukewarm generation."

It happened to Davie Deans on this occasion, as it has done to many other
habitual orators; when once he became embarked on his favourite subject,
the stream of his own enthusiasm carried him forward in spite of his
mental distress, while his well-exercised memory supplied him amply with
all the types and tropes of rhetoric peculiar to his sect and cause.

Mr. Middleburgh contented himself with answering--"All this may be very
true, my friend; but, as you said just now, I have nothing to say to it
at present, either one way or other.--You have two daughters, I think,
Mr. Deans?"

The old man winced, as one whose smarting sore is suddenly galled; but
instantly composed himself, resumed the work which, in the heat of his
declamation, he had laid down, and answered with sullen resolution, "Ae
daughter, sir--only _ane._"

"I understand you," said Mr. Middleburgh; "you have only one daughter
here at home with you--but this unfortunate girl who is a prisoner--she
is, I think, your youngest daughter?"

The Presbyterian sternly raised his eyes. "After the world, and according
to the flesh, she _is_ my daughter; but when she became a child of
Belial, and a company-keeper, and a trader in guilt and iniquity, she
ceased to be a bairn of mine."

"Alas, Mr. Deans," said Middleburgh, sitting down by him, and
endeavouring to take his hand, which the old man proudly withdrew, "we
are ourselves all sinners; and the errors of our offspring, as they ought
not to surprise us, being the portion which they derive of a common
portion of corruption inherited through us, so they do not entitle us to
cast them off because they have lost themselves."

"Sir," said Deans impatiently, "I ken a' that as weel as--I mean to say,"
he resumed, checking the irritation he felt at being schooled--a
discipline of the mind which those most ready to bestow it on others do
themselves most reluctantly submit to receive--"I mean to say, that what
ye o serve may be just and reasonable--But I hae nae freedom to enter
into my ain private affairs wi' strangers--And now, in this great
national emergency, When there's the Porteous' Act has come doun frae
London, that is a deeper blow to this poor sinfu' kingdom and suffering
kirk than ony that has been heard of since the foul and fatal Test--at a
time like this--"

"But, goodman," interrupted Mr. Middleburgh, "you must think of your own
household first, or else you are worse even than the infidels."

"I tell ye, Bailie Middleburgh," retorted David Deans, "if ye be a
bailie, as there is little honour in being ane in these evil days--I tell
ye, I heard the gracious Saunders Peden--I wotna whan it was; but it was
in killing time, when the plowers were drawing alang their furrows on the
back of the Kirk of Scotland--I heard him tell his hearers, gude and
waled Christians they were too, that some o' them wad greet mair for a
bit drowned calf or stirk than for a' the defections and oppressions of
the day; and that they were some o' them thinking o' ae thing, some o'
anither, and there was Lady Hundleslope thinking o' greeting Jock at the
fireside! And the lady confessed in my hearing that a drow of anxiety had
come ower her for her son that she had left at hame weak of a decay*--And
what wad he hae said of me if I had ceased to think of the gude cause for
a castaway--a--It kills me to think of what she is!"

* See _Life of Peden,_ p. 14.

"But the life of your child, goodman--think of that--if her life could be
saved," said Middleburgh.

"Her life!" exclaimed David--"I wadna gie ane o' my grey hairs for her
life, if her gude name be gane--And yet," said he, relenting and
retracting as he spoke, "I wad make the niffer, Mr. Middleburgh--I wad
gie a' these grey hairs that she has brought to shame and sorrow--I wad
gie the auld head they grow on for her life, and that she might hae time
to amend and return, for what hae the wicked beyond the breath of their
nosthrils?--but I'll never see her mair--No!--that--that I am determined
in--I'll never see her mair!" His lips continued to move for a minute
after his voice ceased to be heard, as if he were repeating the same vow
internally.

"Well, sir," said Mr. Middleburgh, "I speak to you as a man of sense; if
you would save your daughter's life, you must use human means."

"I understand what you mean; but Mr. Novit, who is the procurator and
doer of an honourable person, the Laird of Dumbiedikes, is to do what
carnal wisdom can do for her in the circumstances. Mysell am not clear to
trinquet and traffic wi' courts o' justice as they are now constituted; I
have a tenderness and scruple in my mind anent them."

"That is to say," said Middleburgh, "that you are a Cameronian, and do
not acknowledge the authority of our courts of judicature, or present
government?"

"Sir, under your favour," replied David, who was too proud of his own
polemical knowledge to call himself the follower of any one, "ye take me
up before I fall down. I canna see why I suld be termed a Cameronian,
especially now that ye hae given the name of that famous and savoury
sufferer, not only until a regimental band of souldiers, [H. M. 26th
Foot] whereof I am told many can now curse, swear, and use profane
language, as fast as ever Richard Cameron could preach or pray, but also
because ye have, in as far as it is in your power, rendered that martyr's
name vain and contemptible, by pipes, drums, and fifes, playing the vain
carnal spring called the Cameronian Rant, which too many professors of
religion dance to--a practice maist unbecoming a professor to dance to
any tune whatsoever, more especially promiscuously, that is, with the
female sex.* A brutish fashion it is, whilk is the beginning of defection
with many, as I may hae as muckle cause as maist folk to testify."

* See Note F. Peter Walker.

"Well, but, Mr. Deans," replied Mr. Middleburgh, "I only meant to say
that you were a Cameronian, or MacMillanite, one of the society people,
in short, who think it inconsistent to take oaths under a government
where the Covenant is not ratified."

"Sir," replied the controversialist, who forgot even his present distress
in such discussions as these, "you cannot fickle me sae easily as you do
opine. I am _not_ a MacMillanite, or a Russelite, or a Hamiltonian, or a
Harleyite, or a Howdenite*--I will be led by the nose by none--I take my
name as a Christian from no vessel of clay. I have my own principles and
practice to answer for, and am an humble pleader for the gude auld cause
in a legal way."

* All various species of the great genus Cameronian.

"That is to say, Mr. Deans," said Middleburgh, "that you are a _Deanite,_
and have opinions peculiar to yourself."

"It may please you to say sae," said David Deans; "but I have maintained
my testimony before as great folk, and in sharper times; and though I
will neither exalt myself nor pull down others, I wish every man and
woman in this land had kept the true testimony, and the middle and
straight path, as it were, on the ridge of a hill, where wind and water
shears, avoiding right-hand snares and extremes, and left-hand
way-slidings, as weel as Johnny Dodds of Farthing's Acre, and ae man mair
that shall be nameless."

"I suppose," replied the magistrate, "that is as much as to say, that
Johnny Dodds of Farthing's Acre, and David Deans of St. Leonard's,
constitute the only members of the true, real, unsophisticated Kirk of
Scotland?"

"God forbid that I suld make sic a vain-glorious speech, when there are
sae mony professing Christians!" answered David; "but this I maun say,
that all men act according to their gifts and their grace, 'sae that it
is nae marvel that--"

"This is all very fine," interrupted Mr. Middleburgh; "but I have no time
to spend in hearing it. The matter in hand is this--I have directed a
citation to be lodged in your daughter's hands--If she appears on the day
of trial and gives evidence, there is reason to hope she may save her
sister's life--if, from any constrained scruples about the legality of
her performing the office of an affectionate sister and a good subject,
by appearing in a court held under the authority of the law and
government, you become the means of deterring her from the discharge of
this duty, I must say, though the truth may sound harsh in your ears,
that you, who gave life to this unhappy girl, will become the means of
her losing it by a premature and violent death."

So saying, Mr. Middleburgh turned to leave him.

"Bide awee--bide awee, Mr. Middleburgh," said Deans, in great perplexity
and distress of mind; but the Bailie, who was probably sensible that
protracted discussion might diminish the effect of his best and most
forcible argument, took a hasty leave, and declined entering farther into
the controversy.

Deans sunk down upon his seat, stunned with a variety of conflicting
emotions. It had been a great source of controversy among those holding
his opinions in religious matters how far the government which succeeded
the Revolution could be, without sin, acknowledged by true Presbyterians,
seeing that it did not recognise the great national testimony of the
Solemn League and Covenant? And latterly, those agreeing in this general
doctrine, and assuming the sounding title of "The anti-Popish,
anti-Prelatic, anti-Erastian, anti-Sectarian, true Presbyterian remnant,"
were divided into many petty sects among themselves, even as to the
extent of submission to the existing laws and rulers, which constituted
such an acknowledgment as amounted to sin.

At a very stormy and tumultuous meeting, held in 1682, to discuss these
important and delicate points, the testimonies of the faithful few were
found utterly inconsistent with each other.*

* This remarkable convocation took place upon 15th June 1682, and an
account of its confused and divisive proceedings may be found in Michael
Shield's _Faithful Contendings Displayed_ (first printed at Glasgow,
1780,  p. 21). It affords a singular and melancholy example how much a
metaphysical  and polemical spirit had crept in amongst these unhappy
sufferers, since amid so many real injuries which they had to sustain,
they were disposed to add disagreement and disunion concerning the
character and extent of such as were only imaginary.

The place where this conference took place was remarkably well adapted
for such an assembly. It was a wild and very sequestered dell in
Tweeddale, surrounded by high hills, and far remote from human
habitation. A small river, or rather a mountain torrent, called the
Talla, breaks down the glen with great fury, dashing successively over a
number of small cascades, which has procured the spot the name of Talla
Linns. Here the leaders among the scattered adherents to the Covenant,
men who, in their banishment from human society, and in the recollection
of the seventies to which they had been exposed, had become at once
sullen in their tempers, and fantastic in their religious opinions, met
with arms in their hands, and by the side of the torrent discussed, with
a turbulence which the noise of the stream could not drown, points of
controversy as empty and unsubstantial as its foam.

It was the fixed judgment of most of the meeting, that all payment of
cess or tribute to the existing government was utterly unlawful, and a
sacrificing to idols. About other impositions and degrees of submission
there were various opinions; and perhaps it is the best illustration of
the spirit of those military fathers of the church to say, that while all
allowed it was impious to pay the cess employed for maintaining the
standing army and militia, there was a fierce controversy on the
lawfulness of paying the duties levied at ports and bridges, for
maintaining roads and other necessary purposes; that there were some who,
repugnant to these imposts for turnpikes and pontages, were nevertheless
free in conscience to make payment of the usual freight at public
ferries, and that a person of exceeding and punctilious zeal, James
Russel, one of the slayers of the Archbishop of St. Andrews, had given
his testimony with great warmth even against this last faint shade of
subjection to constituted authority. This ardent and enlightened person
and his followers had also great scruples about the lawfulness of
bestowing the ordinary names upon the days of the week and the months of
the year, which savoured in their nostrils so strongly of paganism, that
at length they arrived at the conclusion that they who owned such names
as Monday, Tuesday, January, February, and so forth, "served themselves
heirs to the same, if not greater punishment, than had been denounced
against the idolaters of old."

David Deans had been present on this memorable occasion, although too
young to be a speaker among the polemical combatants. His brain, however,
had been thoroughly heated by the noise, clamour, and metaphysical
ingenuity of the discussion, and it was a controversy to which his mind
had often returned; and though he carefully disguised his vacillation
from others, and, perhaps from himself, he had never been able to come to
any precise line of decision on the subject. In fact, his natural sense
had acted as a counterpoise to his controversial zeal. He was by no means
pleased with the quiet and indifferent manner in which King William's
government slurred over the errors of the times, when, far from restoring
the Presbyterian kirk to its former supremacy, they passed an act of
oblivion even to those who had been its persecutors, and bestowed on many
of them titles, favours, and employments. When, in the first General
Assembly which succeeded the Revolution, an overture was made for the
revival of the League and Covenant, it was with horror that Douce David
heard the proposal eluded by the men of carnal wit and policy, as he
called them, as being inapplicable to the present times, and not falling
under the modern model of the church. The reign of Queen Anne had
increased his conviction, that the Revolution government was not one of
the true Presbyterian complexion. But then, more sensible than the bigots
of his sect, he did not confound the moderation and tolerance of these
two reigns with the active tyranny and oppression exercised in those of
Charles II. and James II. The Presbyterian form of religion, though
deprived of the weight formerly attached to its sentences of
excommunication, and compelled to tolerate the coexistence of Episcopacy,
and of sects of various descriptions, was still the National Church; and
though the glory of the second temple was far inferior to that which had
flourished from 1639 till the battle of Dunbar, still it was a structure
that, wanting the strength and the terrors, retained at least the form
and symmetry, of the original model. Then came the insurrection in 1715,
and David Deans's horror for the revival of the Popish and prelatical
faction reconciled him greatly to the government of King George, although
he grieved that that monarch might be suspected of a leaning unto
Erastianism. In short, moved by so many different considerations, he had
shifted his ground at different times concerning the degree of freedom
which he felt in adopting any act of immediate acknowledgment or
submission to the present government, which, however mild and paternal,
was still uncovenanted, and now he felt himself called upon, by the most
powerful motive conceivable, to authorise his daughter's giving testimony
in a court of justice, which all who have been since called Cameronians
accounted a step of lamentable and direct defection. The voice of nature,
however, exclaimed loud in his bosom against the dictates of fanaticism;
and his imagination, fertile in the solution of polemical difficulties,
devised an expedient for extricating himself from the fearful dilemma, in
which he saw, on the one side, a falling off from principle, and, on the
other, a scene from which a father's thoughts could not but turn in
shuddering horror.

"I have been constant and unchanged in my testimony," said David Deans;
"but then who has said it of me, that I have judged my neighbour over
closely, because he hath had more freedom in his walk than I have found
in mine? I never was a separatist, nor for quarrelling with tender souls
about mint, cummin, or other the lesser tithes. My daughter Jean may have
a light in this subject that is hid frae my auld een--it is laid on her
conscience, and not on mine--If she hath freedom to gang before this
judicatory, and hold up her hand for this poor castaway, surely I will
not say she steppeth over her bounds; and if not"--He paused in his
mental argument, while a pang of unutterable anguish convulsed his
features, yet, shaking it off, he firmly resumed the strain of his
reasoning--"And if not--God forbid that she should go into defection at
bidding of mine! I wunna fret the tender conscience of one bairn--no, not
to save the life of the other."

A Roman would have devoted his daughter to death from different feelings
and motives, but not upon a more heroic principle of duty.



CHAPTER EIGHTEENTH.


                   To man, in this his trial state,
                        The privilege is given,
                   When tost by tides of human fate,
                        To anchor fast on heaven.
                                        Watts's _Hymns._

It was with a firm step that Deans sought his daughter's apartment,
determined to leave her to the light of her own conscience in the dubious
point of casuistry in which he supposed her to be placed.

The little room had been the sleeping apartment of both sisters, and
there still stood there a small occasional bed which had been made for
Effie's accommodation, when, complaining of illness, she had declined to
share, as in happier times, her sister's pillow. The eyes of Deans rested
involuntarily, on entering the room, upon this little couch, with its
dark-green coarse curtains, and the ideas connected with it rose so thick
upon his soul as almost to incapacitate him from opening his errand to
his daughter. Her occupation broke the ice. He found her gazing on a slip
of paper, which contained a citation to her to appear as a witness upon
her sister's trial in behalf of the accused. For the worthy magistrate,
determined to omit no chance of doing Effie justice, and to leave her
sister no apology for not giving the evidence which she was supposed to
possess, had caused the ordinary citation, or _subpoena,_ of the Scottish
criminal court, to be served upon her by an officer during his conference
with David.

This precaution was so far favourable to Deans, that it saved him the
pain of entering upon a formal explanation with his daughter; he only
said, with a hollow and tremulous voice, "I perceive ye are aware of the
matter."

"O father, we are cruelly sted between God's laws and man's laws--What
shall we do?--What can we do?"

Jeanie, it must be observed, had no hesitation whatever about the mere
act of appearing in a court of justice. She might have heard the point
discussed by her father more than once; but we have already noticed that
she was accustomed to listen with reverence to much which she was
incapable of understanding, and that subtle arguments of casuistry found
her a patient, but unedified hearer. Upon receiving the citation,
therefore, her thoughts did not turn upon the chimerical scruples which
alarmed her father's mind, but to the language which had been held to her
by the stranger at Muschat's Cairn. In a word, she never doubted but she
was to be dragged forward into the court of justice, in order to place
her in the cruel position of either sacrificing her sister by telling the
truth, or committing perjury in order to save her life. And so strongly
did her thoughts run in this channel, that she applied her father's
words, "Ye are aware of the matter," to his acquaintance with the advice
that had been so fearfully enforced upon her. She looked up with anxious
surprise, not unmingled with a cast of horror, which his next words, as
she interpreted and applied them, were not qualified to remove.

"Daughter," said David, "it has ever been my mind, that in things of ane
doubtful and controversial nature, ilk Christian's conscience suld be his
ain guide--Wherefore descend into yourself, try your ain mind with
sufficiency of soul exercise, and as you sall finally find yourself clear
to do in this matter--even so be it."

"But, father," said Jeanie, whose mind revolted at the construction which
she naturally put upon his language, "can this-this be a doubtful or
controversial matter?--Mind, father, the ninth command--'Thou shalt not
bear false witness against thy neighbour.'"

David Deans paused; for, still applying her speech to his preconceived
difficulties, it seemed to him as if _she,_ a woman, and a sister, was
scarce entitled to be scrupulous upon this occasion, where he, a man,
exercised in the testimonies of that testifying period, had given
indirect countenance to her following what must have been the natural
dictates of her own feelings. But he kept firm his purpose, until his
eyes involuntarily rested upon the little settle-bed, and recalled the
form of the child of his old age, as she sate upon it, pale, emaciated,
and broken-hearted. His mind, as the picture arose before him,
involuntarily conceived, and his tongue involuntarily uttered--but in a
tone how different from his usual dogmatical precision!--arguments for
the course of conduct likely to ensure his child's safety.

"Daughter," he said, "I did not say that your path was free from
stumbling--and, questionless, this act may be in the opinion of some a
transgression, since he who beareth witness unlawfully, and against his
conscience, doth in some sort bear false witness against his neighbour.
Yet in matters of compliance, the guilt lieth not in the compliance sae
muckle, as in the mind and conscience of him that doth comply; and,
therefore, although my testimony hath not been spared upon public
defections, I haena felt freedom to separate mysell from the communion of
many who have been clear to hear those ministers who have taken the fatal
indulgence because they might get good of them, though I could not."

When David had proceeded thus far, his conscience reproved him, that he
might be indirectly undermining the purity of his daughter's faith, and
smoothing the way for her falling off from strictness of principle. He,
therefore, suddenly stopped, and changed his tone:--"Jeanie, I perceive
that our vile affections,--so I call them in respect of doing the will of
our Father,--cling too heavily to me in this hour of trying sorrow, to
permit me to keep sight of my ain duty, or to airt you to yours. I will
speak nae mair anent this overtrying matter--Jeanie, if ye can, wi' God
and gude conscience, speak in favour of this puir unhappy"--(here his
voice faltered)--"She is your sister in the flesh--worthless and castaway
as she is, she is the daughter of a saint in heaven, that was a mother to
you, Jeanie, in place of your ain--but if ye arena free in conscience to
speak for her in the court of judicature, follow your conscience, Jeanie,
and let God's will be done." After this adjuration he left the apartment,
and his daughter remained in a state of great distress and perplexity.

It would have been no small addition to the sorrows of David Deans, even
in this extremity of suffering, had he known that his daughter was
applying the casuistical arguments which he had been using, not in the
sense of a permission to follow her own opinion on a dubious and disputed
point of controversy, but rather as an encouragement to transgress one of
those divine commandments which Christians of all sects and denominations
unite in holding most sacred.

"Can this be?" said Jeanie, as the door closed on her father--"Can these
be his words that I have heard, or has the Enemy taken his voice and
features to give weight unto the counsel which causeth to perish?--a
sister's life, and a father pointing out how to save it!--O God, deliver
me!--this is a fearfu' temptation."

Roaming from thought to thought, she at one time imagined her father
understood the ninth commandment literally, as prohibiting false witness
_against_ our neighbour, without extending the denunciation against
falsehood uttered _in favour_ of the criminal. But her clear and
unsophisticated power of discriminating between good and evil, instantly
rejected an interpretation so limited, and so unworthy of the Author of
the law. She remained in a state of the most agitating terror and
uncertainty--afraid to communicate her thoughts freely to her father,
lest she should draw forth an opinion with which she could not
comply,--wrung with distress on her sister's account, rendered the more
acute by reflecting that the means of saving her were in her power, but
were such as her conscience prohibited her from using,--tossed, in
short, like a vessel in an open roadstead during a storm, and, like that
vessel, resting on one only sure cable and anchor,--faith in Providence,
and a resolution to discharge her duty.

Butler's affection and strong sense of religion would have been her
principal support in these distressing circumstances, but he was still
under restraint, which did not permit him to come to St. Leonard's Crags;
and her distresses were of a nature, which, with her indifferent habits
of scholarship, she found it impossible to express in writing. She was
therefore compelled to trust for guidance to her own unassisted sense of
what was right or wrong. It was not the least of Jeanie's distresses,
that, although she hoped and believed her sister to be innocent, she had
not the means of receiving that assurance from her own mouth.

The double-dealing of Ratcliffe in the matter of Robertson had not
prevented his being rewarded, as double-dealers frequently have been,
with favour and preferment. Sharpitlaw, who found in him something of a
kindred genius, had been intercessor in his behalf with the magistrates,
and the circumstance of his having voluntarily remained in the prison,
when the doors were forced by the mob, would have made it a hard measure
to take the life which he had such easy means of saving. He received a
full pardon; and soon afterwards, James Ratcliffe, the greatest thief and
housebreaker in Scotland, was, upon the faith, perhaps, of an ancient
proverb, selected as a person to be entrusted with the custody of other
delinquents.

When Ratcliffe was thus placed in a confidential situation, he was
repeatedly applied to by the sapient Saddletree and others, who took some
interest in the Deans family, to procure an interview between the
sisters; but the magistrates, who were extremely anxious for the
apprehension of Robertson, had given strict orders to the contrary,
hoping that, by keeping them separate, they might, from the one or the
other, extract some information respecting that fugitive. On this subject
Jeanie had nothing to tell them. She informed Mr. Middleburgh, that she
knew nothing of Robertson, except having met him that night by
appointment to give her some advice respecting her sister's concern, the
purport of which, she said, was betwixt God and her conscience. Of his
motions, purposes, or plans, past, present, or future, she knew nothing,
and so had nothing to communicate.

Effie was equally silent, though from a different cause. It was in vain
that they offered a commutation and alleviation of her punishment, and
even a free pardon, if she would confess what she knew of her lover. She
answered only with tears; unless, when at times driven into pettish
sulkiness by the persecution of the interrogators, she made them abrupt
and disrespectful answers.

At length, after her trial had been delayed for many weeks, in hopes she
might be induced to speak out on a subject infinitely more interesting to
the magistracy than her own guilt or innocence, their patience was worn
out, and even Mr. Middleburgh finding no ear lent to farther intercession
in her behalf, the day was fixed for the trial to proceed.

It was now, and not sooner, that Sharpitlaw, recollecting his promise to
Effie Deans, or rather being dinned into compliance by the unceasing
remonstrances of Mrs. Saddletree, who was his next-door neighbour, and
who declared it was heathen cruelty to keep the twa brokenhearted
creatures separate, issued the important mandate, permitting them to see
each other.

On the evening which preceded the eventful day of trial, Jeanie was
permitted to see her sister--an awful interview, and occurring at a most
distressing crisis. This, however, formed a part of the bitter cup which
she was doomed to drink, to atone for crimes and follies to which she had
no accession; and at twelve o'clock noon, being the time appointed for
admission to the jail, she went to meet, for the first time for several
months, her guilty, erring, and most miserable sister, in that abode of
guilt, error, and utter misery.



CHAPTER NINETEENTH.


                      Sweet sister, let me live!
                What sin you do to save a brother's life,
                Nature dispenses with the deed so far,
                           That it becomes a virtue.
                                        Measure for Measure.

Jeanie Deans was admitted into the jail by Ratcliffe. This fellow, as
void of shame as of honesty, as he opened the now trebly secured door,
asked her, with a leer which made her shudder, "whether she remembered
him?"

A half-pronounced and timid "No," was her answer.

"What! not remember moonlight, and Muschat's Cairn, and Rob and Rat?"
said he, with the same sneer;--"Your memory needs redding up, my jo."

If Jeanie's distresses had admitted of aggravation, it must have been to
find her sister under the charge of such a profligate as this man. He was
not, indeed, without something of good to balance so much that was evil
in his character and habits. In his misdemeanours he had never been
bloodthirsty or cruel; and in his present occupation, he had shown
himself, in a certain degree, accessible to touches of humanity. But
these good qualities were unknown to Jeanie, who, remembering the scene
at Muschat's Cairn, could scarce find voice to acquaint him, that she had
an order from Bailie Middleburgh, permitting her to see her sister.

"I ken that fa' weel, my bonny doo; mair by token, I have a special
charge to stay in the ward with you a' the time ye are thegither."

"Must that be sae?" asked Jeanie, with an imploring voice.

"Hout, ay, hinny," replied the turnkey; "and what the waur will you and
your tittie be of Jim Ratcliffe hearing what ye hae to say to ilk
other?--Deil a word ye'll say that will gar him ken your kittle sex
better than he kens them already; and another thing is, that if ye dinna
speak o' breaking the Tolbooth, deil a word will I tell ower, either to
do ye good or ill."

Thus saying, Ratcliffe marshalled her the way to the apartment where
Effie was confined.

Shame, fear, and grief, had contended for mastery in the poor prisoner's
bosom during the whole morning, while she had looked forward to this
meeting; but when the door opened, all gave way to a confused and strange
feeling that had a tinge of joy in it, as, throwing herself on her
sister's neck, she ejaculated, "My dear Jeanie!--my dear Jeanie! it's
lang since I hae seen ye." Jeanie returned the embrace with an
earnestness that partook almost of rapture, but it was only a flitting
emotion, like a sunbeam unexpectedly penetrating betwixt the clouds of a
tempest, and obscured almost as soon as visible. The sisters walked
together to the side of the pallet bed, and sate down side by side, took
hold of each other's hands, and looked each other in the face, but
without speaking a word. In this posture they remained for a minute,
while the gleam of joy gradually faded from their features, and gave way
to the most intense expression, first of melancholy, and then of agony,
till, throwing themselves again into each other's arms, they, to use the
language of Scripture, lifted up their voices, and wept bitterly.

Even the hardhearted turnkey, who had spent his life in scenes calculated
to stifle both conscience and feeling, could not witness this scene
without a touch of human sympathy. It was shown in a trifling action, but
which had more delicacy in it than seemed to belong to Ratcliffe's
character and station. The unglazed window of the miserable chamber was
open, and the beams of a bright sun fell right upon the bed where the
sufferers were seated. With a gentleness that had something of reverence
in it, Ratcliffe partly closed the shutter, and seemed thus to throw a
veil over a scene so sorrowful.

"Ye are ill, Effie," were the first words Jeanie could utter; "ye are
very ill."

"O, what wad I gie to be ten times waur, Jeanie!" was the reply--"what
wad I gie to be cauld dead afore the ten o'clock bell the morn! And our
father--but I am his bairn nae langer now--O, I hae nae friend left in
the warld!--O, that I were lying dead at my mother's side, in Newbattle
kirkyard!"

"Hout, lassie," said Ratcliffe, willing to show the interest which he
absolutely felt, "dinna be sae dooms doon-hearted as a' that; there's
mony a tod hunted that's no killed. Advocate Langtale has brought folk
through waur snappers than a' this, and there's no a cleverer agent than
Nichil Novit e'er drew a bill of suspension. Hanged or unhanged, they are
weel aff has sic an agent and counsel; ane's sure o' fair play. Ye are a
bonny lass, too, an ye wad busk up your cockernony a bit; and a bonny
lass will find favour wi' judge and jury, when they would strap up a
grewsome carle like me for the fifteenth part of a flea's hide and
tallow, d--n them."

To this homely strain of consolation the mourners returned no answer;
indeed, they were so much lost in their own sorrows as to have become
insensible of Ratcliffe's presence. "O Effie," said her elder sister,
"how could you conceal your situation from me? O woman, had I deserved
this at your hand?--had ye spoke but ae word--sorry we might hae been,
and shamed we might hae been, but this awfu' dispensation had never come
ower us."

"And what gude wad that hae dune?" answered the prisoner. "Na, na,
Jeanie, a' was ower when ance I forgot what I promised when I faulded
down the leaf of my Bible. See," she said, producing the sacred volume,
"the book opens aye at the place o' itsell. O see, Jeanie, what a fearfu'
Scripture!"

Jeanie took her sister's Bible, and found that the fatal mark was made at
this impressive text in the book of Job: "He hath stripped me of my
glory, and taken the crown from my head. He hath destroyed me on every
side, and I am gone. And mine hope hath he removed like a tree."

"Isna that ower true a doctrine?" said the prisoner "Isna my crown, my
honour, removed? And what am I but a poor, wasted, wan-thriven tree, dug
up by the roots, and flung out to waste in the highway, that man and
beast may tread it under foot? I thought o' the bonny bit them that our
father rooted out o' the yard last May, when it had a' the flush o'
blossoms on it; and then it lay in the court till the beasts had trod
them a' to pieces wi' their feet. I little thought, when I was wae for
the bit silly green bush and its flowers, that I was to gang the same
gate mysell."

"O, if ye had spoken ae word," again sobbed Jeanie,--"if I were free to
swear that ye had said but ae word of how it stude wi' ye, they couldna
hae touched your life this day."

"Could they na?" said Effie, with something like awakened interest--for
life is dear even to those who feel it is a burden--"Wha tauld ye that,
Jeanie?"

"It was ane that kend what he was saying weel eneugh," replied Jeanie,
who had a natural reluctance at mentioning even the name of her sister's
seducer.

"Wha was it?--I conjure you to tell me," said Effie, seating herself
upright.--"Wha could tak interest in sic a cast-by as I am now?--Was
it--was it _him?_"

"Hout," said Ratcliffe, "what signifies keeping the poor lassie in a
swither? I'se uphaud it's been Robertson that learned ye that doctrine
when ye saw him at Muschat's Cairn."

"Was it him?" said Effie, catching eagerly at his words--"was it him,
Jeanie, indeed?--O, I see it was him--poor lad, and I was thinking his
heart was as hard as the nether millstane--and him in sic danger on his
ain part--poor George!"

Somewhat indignant at this burst of tender feeling towards the author of
her misery, Jeanie could not help exclaiming--"O Effie, how can ye speak
that gate of sic a man as that?"

"We maun forgie our enemies, ye ken," said poor Effie, with a timid look
and a subdued voice; for her conscience told her what a different
character the feelings with which she regarded her seducer bore, compared
with the Christian charity under which she attempted to veil it.

"And ye hae suffered a' this for him, and ye can think of loving him
still?" said her sister, in a voice betwixt pity and blame.

"Love him!" answered Effie--"If I hadna loved as woman seldom loves, I
hadna been within these wa's this day; and trow ye, that love sic as mine
is lightly forgotten?--Na, na--ye may hew down the tree, but ye canna
change its bend--And, O Jeanie, if ye wad do good to me at this moment,
tell me every word that he said, and whether he was sorry for poor Effie
or no!"

"What needs I tell ye onything about it?" said Jeanie. "Ye may be sure he
had ower muckle to do to save himsell, to speak lang or muckle about ony
body beside."


[Illustration: Jeanie and Effie--304]


"That's no true, Jeanie, though a saunt had said it," replied Effie, with
a sparkle of her former lively and irritable temper. "But ye dinna ken,
though I do, how far he pat his life in venture to save mine." And
looking at Ratcliffe, she checked herself and was silent.

"I fancy," said Ratcliffe, with one of his familiar sneers, "the lassie
thinks that naebody has een but hersell--Didna I see when Gentle Geordie
was seeking to get other folk out of the Tolbooth forby Jock
Porteous?--but ye are of my mind, hinny--better sit and rue, than flit
and rue--ye needna look in my face sae amazed. I ken mair things than
that, maybe."

"O my God! my God!" said Effie, springing up and throwing herself down on
her knees before him--"D'ye ken where they hae putten my bairn?--O my
bairn! my bairn! the poor sackless innocent new-born wee ane--bone of my
bone, and flesh of my flesh!--O man, if ye wad e'er deserve a portion in
Heaven, or a brokenhearted creature's blessing upon earth, tell me where
they hae put my bairn--the sign of my shame, and the partner of my
suffering! tell me wha has taen't away, or what they hae dune wi't?"

"Hout tout," said the turnkey, endeavouring to extricate himself from the
firm grasp with which she held him, "that's taking me at my word wi' a
witness--Bairn, quo' she? How the deil suld I ken onything of your bairn,
huzzy? Ye maun ask that of auld Meg Murdockson, if ye dinna ken ower
muckle about it yoursell."

As his answer destroyed the wild and vague hope which had suddenly
gleamed upon her, the unhappy prisoner let go her hold of his coat, and
fell with her face on the pavement of the apartment in a strong
convulsion fit.

Jeanie Deans possessed, with her excellently clear understanding, the
concomitant advantage of promptitude of spirit, even in the extremity of
distress.

She did not suffer herself to be overcome by her own feelings of
exquisite sorrow, but instantly applied herself to her sister's relief,
with the readiest remedies which circumstances afforded; and which, to do
Ratcliffe justice, he showed himself anxious to suggest, and alert in
procuring. He had even the delicacy to withdraw to the farthest corner of
the room, so as to render his official attendance upon them as little
intrusive as possible, when Effie was composed enough again to resume her
conference with her sister.

The prisoner once more, in the most earnest and broken tones, conjured
Jeanie to tell her the particulars of the conference with Robertson, and
Jeanie felt it was impossible to refuse her this gratification.

"Do ye mind," she said, "Effie, when ye were in the fever before we left
Woodend, and how angry your mother, that's now in a better place, was wi'
me for gieing ye milk and water to drink, because ye grat for it? Ye were
a bairn then, and ye are a woman now, and should ken better than ask what
canna but hurt you--But come weal or woe, I canna refuse ye onything that
ye ask me wi' the tear in your ee."

Again Effie threw herself into her arms, and kissed her cheek and
forehead, murmuring, "O, if ye kend how lang it is since I heard his name
mentioned?--if ye but kend how muckle good it does me but to ken onything
o' him, that's like goodness or kindness, ye wadna wonder that I wish to
hear o' him!"

Jeanie sighed, and commenced her narrative of all that had passed betwixt
Robertson and her, making it as brief as possible. Effie listened in
breathless anxiety, holding her sister's hand in hers, and keeping her
eye fixed upon her face, as if devouring every word she uttered. The
interjections of "Poor fellow,"--"Poor George," which escaped in
whispers, and betwixt sighs, were the only sounds with which she
interrupted the story. When it was finished she made a long pause.

"And this was his advice?" were the first words she uttered.

"Just sic as I hae tell'd ye," replied her sister.

"And he wanted you to say something to yon folks, that wad save my young
life?"

"He wanted," answered Jeanie, "that I suld be man-sworn."

"And you tauld him," said Effie, "that ye wadna hear o' coming between me
and the death that I am to die, and me no aughten year auld yet?"

"I told him," replied Jeanie, who now trembled at the turn which her
sister's reflection seemed about to take, "that I daured na swear to an
untruth."

"And what d'ye ca' an untruth?" said Effie, again showing a touch of her
former spirit--"Ye are muckle to blame, lass, if ye think a mother would,
or could, murder her ain bairn--Murder!--I wad hae laid down my life just
to see a blink o' its ee!"

"I do believe," said Jeanie, "that ye are as innocent of sic a purpose as
the new-born babe itsell."

"I am glad ye do me that justice," said Effie, haughtily; "ifs whiles the
faut of very good folk like you, Jeanie, that, they think a' the rest of
the warld are as bad as the warst temptations can make them."

"I didna deserve this frae ye, Effie," said her sister, sobbing, and
feeling at once the injustice of the reproach, and compassion for the
state of mind which dictated it.

"Maybe no, sister," said Effie. "But ye are angry because I love
Robertson--How can I help loving him, that loves me better than body and
soul baith?--Here he put his life in a niffer, to break the prison to let
me out; and sure am I, had it stude wi' him as it stands wi' you"--Here
she paused and was silent.

"O, if it stude wi' me to save ye wi' risk of my life!" said Jeanie.

"Ay, lass," said her sister, "that's lightly said, but no sae lightly
credited, frae ane that winna ware a word for me; and if it be a wrang
word, ye'll hae time eneugh to repent o't."

"But that word is a grievous sin, and it's a deeper offence when it's a
sin wilfully and presumptuously committed."

"Weel, weel, Jeanie," said Effie, "I mind a' about the sins o'
presumption in the questions--we'll speak nae mair about this matter, and
ye may save your breath to say your carritch and for me, I'll soon hae
nae breath to waste on onybody."

"I must needs say," interposed Ratcliffe, "that it's d--d hard, when
three words of your mouth would give the girl the chance to nick Moll
Blood,* that you make such scrupling about rapping** to them. D--n me, if
they would take me, if I would not rap to all what d'ye callums--Hyssop's
Fables, for her life--I am us'd to't, b--t me, for less matters. Why, I
have smacked calf-skin*** fifty times in England for a keg of brandy."

* The gallows.
** Swearing.
*** Kissed the book.

"Never speak mair o't," said the prisoner. "It's just as weel as it
is--and gude-day, sister; ye keep Mr. Ratcliffe waiting on--Ye'll come
back and see me, I reckon, before"--here she stopped and became deadly
pale.

"And are we to part in this way," said Jeanie, "and you in sic deadly
peril? O Effie, look but up, and say what ye wad hae me to do, and I
could find in my heart amaist to say that I wad do't."

"No, Jeanie," replied her sister after an effort, "I am better minded
now. At my best, I was never half sae gude as ye were, and what for suld
you begin to mak yoursell waur to save me, now that I am no worth saving?
God knows, that in my sober mind, I wadna wuss ony living creature to do
a wrang thing to save my life. I might have fled frae this Tolbooth on
that awfu' night wi' ane wad hae carried me through the warld, and
friended me, and fended for me. But I said to them, let life gang when
gude fame is gane before it. But this lang imprisonment has broken my
spirit, and I am whiles sair left to mysell, and then I wad gie the
Indian mines of gold and diamonds, just for life and breath--for I think,
Jeanie, I have such roving fits as I used to hae in the fever; but,
instead of the fiery een and wolves, and Widow Butler's bullseg, that I
used to see spieling upon my bed, I am thinking now about a high, black
gibbet, and me standing up, and such seas of faces all looking up at poor
Effie Deans, and asking if it be her that George Robertson used to call
the Lily of St. Leonard's. And then they stretch out their faces, and
make mouths, and girn at me, and whichever way I look, I see a face
laughing like Meg Murdockson, when she tauld me I had seen the last of my
wean. God preserve us, Jeanie, that carline has a fearsome face!"

She clapped her hands before her eyes as she uttered this exclamation, as
if to secure herself against seeing the fearful object she had alluded
to.

Jeanie Deans remained with her sister for two hours, during which she
endeavoured, if possible, to extract something from her that might be
serviceable in her exculpation. But she had nothing to say beyond what
she had declared on her first examination, with the purport of which the
reader will be made acquainted in proper time and place. "They wadna
believe her," she said, "and she had naething mair to tell them."

At length, Ratcliffe, though reluctantly, informed the sisters that there
was a necessity that they should part. "Mr. Novit," he said, "was to see
the prisoner, and maybe Mr. Langtale too. Langtale likes to look at a
bonny lass, whether in prison or out o' prison."

Reluctantly, therefore, and slowly, after many a tear, and many an
embrace, Jeanie retired from the apartment, and heard its jarring bolts
turned upon the dear being from whom she was separated. Somewhat
familiarised now even with her rude conductor, she offered him a small
present in money, with a request he would do what he could for her
sister's accommodation. To her surprise, Ratcliffe declined the fee.
"I wasna bloody when I was on the pad," he said, "and I winna be
greedy--that is, beyond what's right and reasonable--now that I am in
the lock.--Keep the siller; and for civility, your sister sall hae sic
as I can bestow; but I hope you'll think better on it, and rap an oath
for her--deil a hair ill there is in it, if ye are rapping again the
crown. I kend a worthy minister, as gude a man, bating the deed they
deposed him for, as ever ye heard claver in a pu'pit, that rapped to a
hogshead of pigtail tobacco, just for as muckle as filled his
spleuchan.*

* Tobacco-pouch.

But maybe ye are keeping your ain counsel--weel, weel, there's nae harm
in that. As for your sister, I'se see that she gets her meat clean and
warm, and I'll try to gar her lie down and take a sleep after dinner, for
deil a ee she'll close the night. I hae gude experience of these matters.
The first night is aye the warst o't. I hae never heard o' ane that
sleepit the night afore trial, but of mony a ane that sleepit as sound as
a tap the night before their necks were straughted. And it's nae
wonder--the warst may be tholed when it's kend--Better a finger aff
as aye wagging."



CHAPTER TWENTIETH.


                Yet though thou mayst be dragg'd in scorn
                      To yonder ignominious tree,
                Thou shalt not want one faithful friend
                     To share the cruel fates' decree.
                                          Jemmy Dawson.

After spending the greater part of the morning in his devotions (for his
benevolent neighbours had kindly insisted upon discharging his task of
ordinary labour), David Deans entered the apartment when the breakfast
meal was prepared. His eyes were involuntarily cast down, for he was
afraid to look at Jeanie, uncertain as he was whether she might feel
herself at liberty, with a good conscience, to attend the Court of
Justiciary that day, to give the evidence which he understood that she
possessed, in order to her sister's exculpation. At length, after a
minute of apprehensive hesitation, he looked at her dress to discover
whether it seemed to be in her contemplation to go abroad that morning.
Her apparel was neat and plain, but such as conveyed no exact intimation
of her intentions to go abroad. She had exchanged her usual garb for
morning labour, for one something inferior to that with which, as her
best, she was wont to dress herself for church, or any more rare occasion
of going into society. Her sense taught her, that it was respectful to be
decent in her apparel on such an occasion, while her feelings induced her
to lay aside the use of the very few and simple personal ornaments,
which, on other occasions, she permitted herself to wear. So that there
occurred nothing in her external appearance which could mark out to her
father, with anything like certainty, her intentions on this occasion.

The preparations for their humble meal were that morning made in vain.
The father and daughter sat, each assuming the appearance of eating, when
the other's eyes were turned to them, and desisting from the effort with
disgust, when the affectionate imposture seemed no longer necessary.

At length these moments of constraint were removed. The sound of St.
Giles's heavy toll announced the hour previous to the commencement of the
trial; Jeanie arose, and with a degree of composure for which she herself
could not account, assumed her plaid, and made her other preparations for
a distant walking. It was a strange contrast between the firmness of her
demeanour, and the vacillation and cruel uncertainty of purpose indicated
in all her father's motions; and one unacquainted with both could
scarcely have supposed that the former was, in her ordinary habits of
life, a docile, quiet, gentle, and even timid country maiden, while her
father, with a mind naturally proud and strong, and supported by
religious opinions of a stern, stoical, and unyielding character, had in
his time undergone and withstood the most severe hardships, and the most
imminent peril, without depression of spirit, or subjugation of his
constancy. The secret of this difference was, that Jeanie's mind had
already anticipated the line of conduct which she must adopt, with all
its natural and necessary consequences; while her father, ignorant of
every other circumstance, tormented himself with imagining what the one
sister might say or swear, or what effect her testimony might have upon
the awful event of the trial.

He watched his daughter, with a faltering and indecisive look, until she
looked back upon him, with a look of unutterable anguish, as she was
about to leave the apartment.

"My dear lassie," said he, "I will." His action, hastily and confusedly
searching for his worsted mittans* and staff, showed his purpose of
accompanying her, though his tongue failed distinctly to announce it.

* A kind of worsted gloves, used by the lower orders.

"Father," said Jeanie, replying rather to his action than his words, "ye
had better not."

"In the strength of my God," answered Deans, assuming firmness, "I will
go forth."

And, taking his daughter's arm under his, he began to walk from the door
with a step so hasty, that she was almost unable to keep up with him. A
trifling circumstance, but which marked the perturbed state of his mind,
checked his course.

"Your bonnet, father?" said Jeanie, who observed he had come out with his
grey hairs uncovered. He turned back with a slight blush on his cheek,
being ashamed to have been detected in an omission which indicated so
much mental confusion, assumed his large blue Scottish bonnet, and with a
step slower, but more composed, as if the circumstance, had obliged him
to summon up his resolution, and collect his scattered ideas, again
placed his daughter's arm under his, and resumed the way to Edinburgh.

The courts of justice were then, and are still, held in what is called
the Parliament Close, or, according to modern phrase, Parliament Square,
and occupied the buildings intended for the accommodation of the Scottish
Estates. This edifice, though in an imperfect and corrupted style of
architecture, had then a grave, decent, and, as it were, a judicial
aspect, which was at least entitled to respect from its antiquity. For
which venerable front, I observed, on my last occasional visit to the
metropolis, that modern taste had substituted, at great apparent expense,
a pile so utterly inconsistent with every monument of antiquity around,
and in itself so clumsy at the same time and fantastic, that it may be
likened to the decorations of Tom Errand the porter, in the _Trip to the
Jubilee,_ when he appears bedizened with the tawdry finery of Beau
Clincher. _Sed transeat cum caeteris erroribus._

The small quadrangle, or Close, if we may presume still to give it that
appropriate, though antiquated title, which at Lichfield, Salisbury, and
elsewhere, is properly applied to designate the enclosure adjacent to a
cathedral, already evinced tokens of the fatal scene which was that day
to be acted. The soldiers of the City Guard were on their posts, now
enduring, and now rudely repelling with the butts of their muskets, the
motley crew who thrust each other forward, to catch a glance at the
unfortunate object of trial, as she should pass from the adjacent prison
to the Court in which her fate was to be determined. All must have
occasionally observed, with disgust, the apathy with which the vulgar
gaze on scenes of this nature, and how seldom, unless when their
sympathies are called forth by some striking and extraordinary
circumstance, the crowd evince any interest deeper than that of callous,
unthinking bustle, and brutal curiosity. They laugh, jest, quarrel, and
push each other to and fro, with the same unfeeling indifference as if
they were assembled for some holiday sport, or to see an idle procession.
Occasionally, however, this demeanour, so natural to the degraded
populace of a large town, is exchanged for a temporary touch of human
affections; and so it chanced on the present occasion.

When Deans and his daughter presented themselves in the Close, and
endeavoured to make their way forward to the door of the Court-house,
they became involved in the mob, and subject, of course, to their
insolence. As Deans repelled with some force the rude pushes which he
received on all sides, his figure and antiquated dress caught the
attention of the rabble, who often show an intuitive sharpness in
ascribing the proper character from external appearance,--

                        "Ye're welcome, whigs,
                         Frae Bothwell briggs,"

sung one fellow (for the mob of Edinburgh were at that time jacobitically
disposed, probably because that was the line of sentiment most
diametrically opposite to existing authority).

                        "Mess David Williamson,
                           Chosen of twenty,
                       Ran up the pu'pit stair,
                           And sang Killiecrankie,"

chanted a siren, whose profession might be guessed by her appearance. A
tattered caidie, or errand-porter, whom David Deans had jostled in his
attempt to extricate himself from the vicinity of these scorners,
exclaimed in a strong north-country tone, "Ta deil ding out her
Cameronian een--what gies her titles to dunch gentlemans about?"

"Make room for the ruling elder," said yet another; "he comes to see a
precious sister glorify God in the Grassmarket!"

"Whisht; shame's in ye, sirs," said the voice of a man very loudly,
which, as quickly sinking, said in a low but distinct tone, "It's her
father and sister."

All fell back to make way for the sufferers; and all, even the very
rudest and most profligate, were struck with shame and silence. In the
space thus abandoned to them by the mob, Deans stood, holding his
daughter by the hand, and said to her, with a countenance strongly and
sternly expressive of his internal emotion, "Ye hear with your ears, and
ye see with your eyes, where and to whom the backslidings and defections
of professors are ascribed by the scoffers. Not to themselves alone, but
to the kirk of which they are members, and to its blessed and invisible
Head. Then, weel may we take wi' patience our share and portion of this
outspreading reproach."

The man who had spoken, no other than our old friend, Dumbiedikes, whose
mouth, like that of the prophet's ass, had been opened by the emergency
of the case, now joined them, and, with his usual taciturnity, escorted
them into the Court-house. No opposition was offered to their entrance
either by the guards or doorkeepers; and it is even said that one of the
latter refused a shilling of civility-money tendered him by the Laird of
Dumbiedikes, who was of opinion that "siller wad make a' easy." But this
last incident wants confirmation.

Admitted within the precincts of the Court-house, they found the usual
number of busy office-bearers, and idle loiterers, who attend on these
scenes by choice, or from duty. Burghers gaped and stared; young lawyers
sauntered, sneered, and laughed, as in the pit of the theatre; while
others apart sat on a bench retired, and reasoned highly, _inter apices
juris,_ on the doctrines of constructive crime, and the true import of
the statute. The bench was prepared for the arrival of the judges. The
jurors were in attendance. The crown-counsel, employed in looking over
their briefs and notes of evidence, looked grave, and whispered with each
other. They occupied one side of a large table placed beneath the bench;
on the other sat the advocates, whom the humanity of the Scottish law (in
this particular more liberal than that of the sister-country) not only
permits, but enjoins, to appear and assist with their advice and skill
all persons under trial. Mr. Nichil Novit was seen actively instructing
the counsel for the panel (so the prisoner is called in Scottish
law-phraseology), busy, bustling, and important. When they entered the
Court-room, Deans asked the Laird, in a tremulous whisper, "Where will
_she_ sit?"

Dumbiedikes whispered Novit, who pointed to a vacant space at the bar,
fronting the judges, and was about to conduct Deans towards it.

"No!" he said; "I cannot sit by her--I cannot own her--not as yet,
at least--I will keep out of her sight, and turn mine own eyes
elsewhere--better for us baith."

Saddletree, whose repeated interference with the counsel had procured him
one or two rebuffs, and a special request that he would concern himself
with his own matters, now saw with pleasure an opportunity of playing the
person of importance. He bustled up to the poor old man, and proceeded to
exhibit his consequence, by securing, through his interest with the
bar-keepers and macers, a seat for Deans, in a situation where he was
hidden from the general eye by the projecting corner of the bench.

"It's gude to have a friend at court," he said, continuing his heartless
harangues to the passive auditor, who neither heard nor replied to them;
"few folk but mysell could hae sorted ye out a seat like this--the Lords
will be here incontinent, and proceed _instanter_ to trial. They wunna
fence the Court as they do at the Circuit--the High Court of Justiciary
is aye fenced.--But, Lord's sake, what's this o't--Jeanie, ye are a cited
witness--Macer, this lass is a witness--she maun be enclosed--she maun on
nae account be at large.--Mr. Novit, suldna Jeanie Deans be enclosed?"

Novit answered in the affirmative, and offered to conduct Jeanie to the
apartment, where, according to the scrupulous practice of the Scottish
Court, the witnesses remain in readiness to be called into Court to give
evidence; and separated, at the same time, from all who might influence
their testimony, or give them information concerning that which was
passing upon the trial.

"Is this necessary?" said Jeanie, still reluctant to quit her father's
hand.

"A matter of absolute needcessity," said Saddletree, "wha ever heard of
witnesses no being enclosed?"

"It is really a matter of necessity," said the younger counsellor,
retained for her sister; and Jeanie reluctantly followed the macer of the
Court to the place appointed.

"This, Mr. Deans," said Saddletree, "is ca'd sequestering a witness; but
it's clean different (whilk maybe ye wadna fund out o' yoursell) frae
sequestering ane's estate or effects, as in cases of bankruptcy. I hae
aften been sequestered as a witness, for the Sheriff is in the use whiles
to cry me in to witness the declarations at precognitions, and so is Mr.
Sharpitlaw; but I was ne'er like to be sequestered o' land and gudes but
ance, and that was lang syne, afore I was married. But whisht, whisht!
here's the Court coming."

As he spoke, the five Lords of Justiciary, in their long robes of
scarlet, faced with white, and preceded by their mace-bearer, entered
with the usual formalities, and took their places upon the bench of
judgment.

The audience rose to receive them; and the bustle occasioned by their
entrance was hardly composed, when a great noise and confusion of persons
struggling, and forcibly endeavouring to enter at the doors of the
Court-room, and of the galleries, announced that the prisoner was about
to be placed at the bar. This tumult takes place when the doors, at first
only opened to those either having right to be present, or to the better
and more qualified ranks, are at length laid open to all whose curiosity
induces them to be present on the occasion. With inflamed countenances
and dishevelled dresses, struggling with, and sometimes tumbling over
each other, in rushed the rude multitude, while a few soldiers, forming,
as it were, the centre of the tide, could scarce, with all their efforts,
clear a passage for the prisoner to the place which she was to occupy. By
the authority of the Court, and the exertions of its officers, the tumult
among the spectators was at length appeased, and the unhappy girl brought
forward, and placed betwixt two sentinels with drawn bayonets, as a
prisoner at the bar, where she was to abide her deliverance for good or
evil, according to the issue of her trial.



CHAPTER TWENTY-FIRST.


            We have strict statutes, and most biting laws--
            The needful bits and curbs for headstrong steeds--
            Which, for these fourteen years, we have let sleep,
                 Like to an o'ergrown lion in a cave,
                      That goes not out to prey.
                                        Measure for Measure.

"Euphemia Deans," said the presiding Judge, in an accent in which pity
was blended with dignity, "stand up and listen to the criminal indictment
now to be preferred against you."

The unhappy girl, who had been stupified by the confusion through which
the guards had forced a passage, cast a bewildered look on the multitude
of faces around her, which seemed to tapestry, as it were, the walls, in
one broad slope from the ceiling to the floor, with human countenances,
and instinctively obeyed a command, which rung in her ears like the
trumpet of the judgment-day.

"Put back your hair, Effie," said one of the macers. For her beautiful
and abundant tresses of long fair hair, which, according to the costume
of the country, unmarried women were not allowed to cover with any sort
of cap, and which, alas! Effie dared no longer confine with the snood or
riband, which implied purity of maiden-fame, now hung unbound and
dishevelled over her face, and almost concealed her features. On
receiving this hint from the attendant, the unfortunate young woman, with
a hasty, trembling, and apparently mechanical compliance, shaded back
from her face her luxuriant locks, and showed to the whole court,
excepting one individual, a countenance, which, though pale and
emaciated, was so lovely amid its agony, that it called forth a universal
murmur of compassion and sympathy. Apparently the expressive sound of
human feeling recalled the poor girl from the stupor of fear, which
predominated at first over every other sensation, and awakened her to the
no less painful sense of shame and exposure attached to her present
situation. Her eye, which had at first glanced wildly around, was turned
on the ground; her cheek, at first so deadly pale, began gradually to be
overspread with a faint blush, which increased so fast, that, when in
agony of shame she strove to conceal her face, her temples, her brow, her
neck, and all that her slender fingers and small palms could not cover,
became of the deepest crimson.

All marked and were moved by these changes, excepting one. It was old
Deans, who, motionless in his seat, and concealed, as we have said, by
the corner of the bench, from seeing or being seen, did nevertheless keep
his eyes firmly fixed on the ground, as if determined that, by no
possibility whatever, would he be an ocular witness of the shame of his
house.

"Ichabod!" he said to himself--"Ichabod! my glory is departed!"

While these reflections were passing through his mind, the indictment,
which set forth in technical form the crime of which the panel stood
accused, was read as usual, and the prisoner was asked if she was Guilty,
or Not Guilty.

"Not guilty of my poor bairn's death," said Effie Deans, in an accent
corresponding in plaintive softness of tone to the beauty of her
features, and which was not heard by the audience without emotion.

The presiding Judge next directed the counsel to plead to the relevancy;
that is, to state on either part the arguments in point of law, and
evidence in point of fact, against and in favour of the criminal; after
which it is the form of the Court to pronounce a preliminary judgment,
sending the cause to the cognisance of the jury, or assize.

The counsel for the crown briefly stated the frequency of the crime of
infanticide, which had given rise to the special statute under which the
panel stood indicted. He mentioned the various instances, many of them
marked with circumstances of atrocity, which had at length induced the
King's Advocate, though with great reluctance, to make the experiment,
whether, by strictly enforcing the Act of Parliament which had been made
to prevent such enormities, their occurrence might be prevented. "He
expected," he said, "to be able to establish by witnesses, as well as by
the declaration of the panel herself, that she was in the state described
by the statute. According to his information, the panel had communicated
her pregnancy to no one, nor did she allege in her own declaration that
she had done so. This secrecy was the first requisite in support of the
indictment. The same declaration admitted, that she had borne a male
child, in circumstances which gave but too much reason to believe it had
died by the hands, or at least with the knowledge or consent, of the
unhappy mother. It was not, however, necessary for him to bring positive
proof that the panel was accessory to the murder, nay, nor even to prove,
that the child was murdered at all. It was sufficient to support the
indictment, that it could not be found. According to the stern, but
necessary severity of this statute, she who should conceal her pregnancy,
who should omit to call that assistance which is most necessary on such
occasions, was held already to have meditated the death of her offspring,
as an event most likely to be the consequence of her culpable and cruel
concealment. And if, under such circumstances, she could not
alternatively show by proof that the infant had died a natural death, or
produce it still in life, she must, under the construction of the law, be
held to have murdered it, and suffer death accordingly."

The counsel for the prisoner, Mr. Fairbrother, a man of considerable fame
in his profession, did not pretend directly to combat the arguments of
the King's Advocate. He began by lamenting that his senior at the bar,
Mr. Langtale, had been suddenly called to the county of which he was
sheriff, and that he had been applied to, on short warning, to give the
panel his assistance in this interesting case. He had had little time, he
said, to make up for his inferiority to his learned brother by long and
minute research; and he was afraid he might give a specimen of his
incapacity, by being compelled to admit the accuracy of the indictment
under the statute. "It was enough for their Lordships," he observed, "to
know that such was the law, and he admitted the advocate had a right to
call for the usual interlocutor of relevancy." But he stated, "that when
he came to establish his case by proof, he trusted to make out
circumstances which would satisfactorily elide the charge in the libel.
His client's story was a short, but most melancholy one. She was bred up
in the strictest tenets of religion and virtue, the daughter of a worthy
and conscientious person, who, in evil times, had established a character
for courage and religion, by becoming a sufferer for conscience' sake."

David Deans gave a convulsive start at hearing himself thus mentioned,
and then resumed the situation, in which, with his face stooped against
his hands, and both resting against the corner of the elevated bench on
which the Judges sate, he had hitherto listened to the procedure in the
trial. The Whig lawyers seemed to be interested; the Tories put up their
lip.

"Whatever may be our difference of opinion," resumed the lawyer, whose
business it was to carry his whole audience with him if possible,
"concerning the peculiar tenets of these people" (here Deans groaned
deeply), "it is impossible to deny them the praise of sound, and even
rigid morals, or the merit of training up their children in the fear of
God; and yet it was the daughter of such a person whom a jury would
shortly be called upon, in the absence of evidence, and upon mere
presumptions, to convict of a crime more properly belonging to a heathen,
or a savage, than to a Christian and civilised country. It was true," he
admitted, "that the excellent nurture and early instruction which the
poor girl had received, had not been sufficient to preserve her from
guilt and error. She had fallen a sacrifice to an inconsiderate affection
for a young man of prepossessing manners, as he had been informed, but of
a very dangerous and desperate character. She was seduced under promise
of marriage--a promise, which the fellow might have, perhaps, done her
justice by keeping, had he not at that time been called upon by the law
to atone for a crime, violent and desperate in itself, but which became
the preface to another eventful history, every step of which was marked
by blood and guilt, and the final termination of which had not even yet
arrived. He believed that no one would hear him without surprise, when he
stated that the father of this infant now amissing, and said by the
learned Advocate to have been murdered, was no other than the notorious
George Robertson, the accomplice of Wilson, the hero of the memorable
escape from the Tolbooth Church, and as no one knew better than his
learned friend the Advocate, the principal actor in the Porteous
conspiracy."

"I am sorry to interrupt a counsel in such a case as the present," said,
the presiding Judge; "but I must remind the learned gentleman that he is
travelling out of the case before us."

The counsel bowed and resumed. "He only judged it necessary," he said,
"to mention the name and situation of Robertson, because the circumstance
in which that character was placed, went a great way in accounting for
the silence on which his Majesty's counsel had laid so much weight, as
affording proof that his client proposed to allow no fair play for its
life to the helpless being whom she was about to bring into the world.
She had not announced to her friends that she had been seduced from the
path of honour--and why had she not done so?--Because she expected daily
to be restored to character, by her seducer doing her that justice which
she knew to be in his power, and believed to be in his inclination. Was
it natural--was it reasonable--was it fair, to expect that she should in
the interim, become _felo de se_ of her own character, and proclaim her
frailty to the world, when she had every reason to expect, that, by
concealing it for a season, it might be veiled for ever? Was it not, on
the contrary, pardonable, that, in such an emergency, a young woman, in
such a situation, should be found far from disposed to make a confidant
of every prying gossip, who, with sharp eyes, and eager ears, pressed
upon her for an explanation of suspicious circumstances, which females in
the lower--he might say which females of all ranks, are so alert in
noticing, that they sometimes discover them where they do not exist? Was
it strange or was it criminal, that she should have repelled their
inquisitive impertinence with petulant denials? The sense and feeling of
all who heard him would answer directly in the negative. But although his
client had thus remained silent towards those to whom she was not called
upon to communicate her situation,--to whom," said the learned gentleman,
"I will add, it would have been unadvised and improper in her to have
done so; yet, I trust, I shall remove this case most triumphantly from
under the statute, and obtain the unfortunate young woman an honourable
dismission from your Lordships' bar, by showing that she did, in due time
and place, and to a person most fit for such confidence, mention the
calamitous circumstances in which she found herself. This occurred after
Robertson's conviction, and when he was lying in prison in expectation of
the fate which his comrade Wilson afterwards suffered, and from which he
himself so strangely escaped. It was then, when all hopes of having her
honour repaired by wedlock vanished from her eyes,--when an union with
one in Robertson's situation, if still practicable, might, perhaps, have
been regarded rather as an addition to her disgrace,--it was _then,_ that
I trust to be able to prove that the prisoner communicated and consulted
with her sister, a young woman several years older than herself, the
daughter of her father, if I mistake not, by a former marriage, upon the
perils and distress of her unhappy situation."

"If, indeed, you are able to instruct _that_ point, Mr. Fairbrother,"
said the presiding Judge.

"If I am indeed able to instruct that point, my Lord," resumed Mr.
Fairbrother, "I trust not only to serve my client, but to relieve your
Lordships from that which I know you feel the most painful duty of your
high office; and to give all who now hear me the exquisite pleasure of
beholding a creature, so young, so ingenuous, and so beautiful, as she
that is now at the bar of your Lordships' Court, dismissed from thence in
safety and in honour."

This address seemed to affect many of the audience, and was followed by a
slight murmur of applause. Deans, as he heard his daughter's beauty and
innocent appearance appealed to, was involuntarily about to turn his eyes
towards her; but, recollecting himself, he bent them again on the ground
with stubborn resolution.

"Will not my learned brother, on the other side of the bar," continued
the advocate, after a short pause, "share in this general joy, since, I
know, while he discharges his duty in bringing an accused person here, no
one rejoices more in their being freely and honourably sent hence? My
learned brother shakes his head doubtfully, and lays his hand on the
panel's declaration. I understand him perfectly--he would insinuate that
the facts now stated to your Lordships are inconsistent with the
confession of Euphemia Deans herself. I need not remind your Lordships,
that her present defence is no whit to be narrowed within the bounds of
her former confession; and that it is not by any account which she may
formerly have given of herself, but by what is now to be proved for or
against her, that she must ultimately stand or fall. I am not under the
necessity of accounting for her choosing to drop out of her declaration
the circumstances of her confession to her sister. She might not be aware
of its importance; she might be afraid of implicating her sister; she
might even have forgotten the circumstance entirely, in the terror and
distress of mind incidental to the arrest of so young a creature on a
charge so heinous. Any of these reasons are sufficient to account for her
having suppressed the truth in this instance, at whatever risk to
herself; and I incline most to her erroneous fear of criminating her
sister, because I observe she has had a similar tenderness towards her
lover (however undeserved on his part), and has never once mentioned
Robertson's name from beginning to end of her declaration.

"But, my Lords," continued Fairbrother, "I am aware the King's Advocate
will expect me to show, that the proof I offer is consistent with other
circumstances of the case, which I do not and cannot deny. He will
demand of me how Effie Deans's confession to her sister, previous to her
delivery, is reconcilable with the mystery of the birth,--with the
disappearance, perhaps the murder (for I will not deny a possibility
which I cannot disprove) of the infant. My Lords, the explanation of this
is to be found in the placability, perchance, I may say, in the facility
and pliability, of the female sex. The _dulcis Amaryllidis irae,_ as your
Lordships well know, are easily appeased; nor is it possible to conceive
a woman so atrociously offended by the man whom she has loved, but that
she will retain a fund of forgiveness, upon which his penitence, whether
real or affected, may draw largely, with a certainty that his bills will
be answered. We can prove, by a letter produced in evidence, that this
villain Robertson, from the bottom of the dungeon whence he already
probably meditated the escape, which he afterwards accomplished by the
assistance of his comrade, contrived to exercise authority over the mind,
and to direct the motions, of this unhappy girl. It was in compliance
with his injunctions, expressed in that letter, that the panel was
prevailed upon to alter the line of conduct which her own better thoughts
had suggested; and, instead of resorting, when her time of travail
approached, to the protection of her own family, was induced to confide
herself to the charge of some vile agent of this nefarious seducer, and
by her conducted to one of those solitary and secret purlieus of villany,
which, to the shame of our police, still are suffered to exist in the
suburbs of this city, where, with the assistance, and under the charge,
of a person of her own sex, she bore a male child, under circumstances
which added treble bitterness to the woe denounced against our original
mother. What purpose Robertson had in all this, it is hard to tell, or
even to guess. He may have meant to marry the girl, for her father is a
man of substance. But, for the termination of the story, and the conduct
of the woman whom he had placed about the person of Euphemia Deans, it is
still more difficult to account. The unfortunate young woman was visited
by the fever incidental to her situation. In this fever she appears to
have been deceived by the person that waited on her, and, on recovering
her senses, she found that she was childless in that abode of misery. Her
infant had been carried off, perhaps for the worst purposes, by the
wretch that waited on her. It may have been murdered, for what I can
tell."

He was here interrupted by a piercing shriek, uttered by the unfortunate
prisoner. She was with difficulty brought to compose herself. Her counsel
availed himself of the tragical interruption, to close his pleading with
effect.

"My Lords," said he, "in that piteous cry you heard the eloquence of
maternal affection, far surpassing the force of my poor words--Rachel
weeping for her children! Nature herself bears testimony in favour of the
tenderness and acuteness of the prisoner's parental feelings. I will not
dishonour her plea by adding a word more."

"Heard ye ever the like o' that, Laird?" said Saddletree to Dumbiedikes,
when the counsel had ended his speech. "There's a chield can spin a
muckle pirn out of a wee tait of tow! Deil haet he kens mair about it
than what's in the declaration, and a surmise that Jeanie Deans suld hae
been able to say something about her sister's situation, whilk surmise,
Mr. Crossmyloof says, rests on sma' authority. And he's cleckit this
great muckle bird out o' this wee egg! He could wile the very flounders
out o' the Firth.--What garr'd my father no send me to Utrecht?--But
whisht, the Court is gaun to pronounce the interlocutor of relevancy."

And accordingly the Judges, after a few words, recorded their judgment,
which bore, that the indictment, if proved, was relevant to infer the
pains of law: And that the defence, that the panel had communicated her
situation to her sister, was a relevant defence: And, finally, appointed
the said indictment and defence to be submitted to the judgment of an
assize.



CHAPTER TWENTY-SECOND.


           Most righteous judge! a sentence.--Come, prepare.
                                    Merchant of Venice.

It is by no means my intention to describe minutely the forms of a
Scottish criminal trial, nor am I sure that I could draw up an account so
intelligible and accurate as to abide the criticism of the gentlemen of
the long robe. It is enough to say that the jury was impanelled, and the
case proceeded. The prisoner was again required to plead to the charge,
and she again replied, "Not Guilty," in the same heart-thrilling tone as
before.

The crown counsel then called two or three female witnesses, by whose
testimony it was established, that Effie's situation had been remarked by
them, that they had taxed her with the fact, and that her answers had
amounted to an angry and petulant denial of what they charged her with.
But, as very frequently happens, the declaration of the panel or accused
party herself was the evidence which bore hardest upon her case.

In the event of these tales ever finding their way across the Border, it
may be proper to apprise the southern reader that it is the practice in
Scotland, on apprehending a suspected person, to subject him to a
judicial examination before a magistrate. He is not compelled to answer
any of the questions asked of him, but may remain silent if he sees it
his interest to do so. But whatever answers he chooses to give are
formally written down, and being subscribed by himself and the
magistrate, are produced against the accused in case of his being brought
to trial. It is true, that these declarations are not produced as being
in themselves evidence properly so called, but only as adminicles of
testimony, tending to corroborate what is considered as legal and proper
evidence. Notwithstanding this nice distinction, however, introduced by
lawyers to reconcile this procedure to their own general rule, that a man
cannot be required to bear witness against himself, it nevertheless
usually happens that these declarations become the means of condemning
the accused, as it were, out of their own mouths. The prisoner, upon
these previous examinations, has indeed the privilege of remaining silent
if he pleases; but every man necessarily feels that a refusal to answer
natural and pertinent interrogatories, put by judicial authority, is in
itself a strong proof of guilt, and will certainly lead to his being
committed to prison; and few can renounce the hope of obtaining liberty
by giving some specious account of themselves, and showing apparent
frankness in explaining their motives and accounting for their conduct.
It, therefore, seldom happens that the prisoner refuses to give a
judicial declaration, in which, nevertheless, either by letting out too
much of the truth, or by endeavouring to substitute a fictitious story,
he almost always exposes himself to suspicion and to contradictions,
which weigh heavily in the minds of the jury.

The declaration of Effie Deans was uttered on other principles, and the
following is a sketch of its contents, given in the judicial form, in
which they may still be found in the Books of Adjournal.

The declarant admitted a criminal intrigue with an individual whose name
she desired to conceal. "Being interrogated, what her reason was for
secrecy on this point? She declared, that she had no right to blame that
person's conduct more than she did her own, and that she was willing to
confess her own faults, but not to say anything which might criminate the
absent. Interrogated, if she confessed her situation to any one, or made
any preparation for her confinement? Declares, she did not. And being
interrogated, why she forbore to take steps which her situation so
peremptorily required? Declares, she was ashamed to tell her friends, and
she trusted the person she has mentioned would provide for her and the
infant. Interrogated if he did so? Declares, that he did not do so
personally; but that it was not his fault, for that the declarant is
convinced he would have laid down his life sooner than the bairn or she
had come to harm. Interrogated, what prevented him from keeping his
promise? Declares, that it was impossible for him to do so, he being
under trouble at the time, and declines farther answer to this question.
Interrogated, where she was from the period she left her master, Mr.
Saddletree's family, until her appearance at her father's, at St.
Leonard's, the day before she was apprehended? Declares, she does not
remember. And, on the interrogatory being repeated, declares, she does
not mind muckle about it, for she was very ill. On the question being
again repeated, she declares, she will tell the truth, if it should be
the undoing of her, so long as she is not asked to tell on other folk;
and admits, that she passed that interval of time in the lodging of a
woman, an acquaintance of that person who had wished her to that place to
be delivered, and that she was there delivered accordingly of a male
child. Interrogated, what was the name of that person? Declares and
refuses to answer this question. Interrogated, where she lives? Declares,
she has no certainty, for that she was taken to the lodging aforesaid
under cloud of night. Interrogated, if the lodging was in the city or
suburbs? Declares and refuses to answer that question. Interrogated,
whether, when she left the house of Mr. Saddletree, she went up or down
the street? Declares and refuses to answer the question. Interrogated,
whether she had ever seen the woman before she was wished to her, as she
termed it, by the person whose name she refuses to answer? Declares and
replies, not to her knowledge. Interrogated, whether this woman was
introduced to her by the said person verbally, or by word of mouth?
Declares, she has no freedom to answer this question. Interrogated, if
the child was alive when it was born? Declares, that--God help her and
it!--it certainly was alive. Interrogated, if it died a natural death
after birth? Declares, not to her knowledge. Interrogated, where it now
is? Declares, she would give her right hand to ken, but that she never
hopes to see mair than the banes of it. And being interrogated, why she
supposes it is now dead? the declarant wept bitterly and made no answer.
Interrogated, if the woman, in whose lodging she was, seemed to be a fit
person to be with her in that situation? Declares, she might be fit
enough for skill, but that she was an hard-hearted bad woman.
Interrogated, if there was any other person in the lodging excepting
themselves two? Declares, that she thinks there was another woman; but
her head was so carried with pain of body and trouble of mind, that she
minded her very little. Interrogated, when the child was taken away from
her? Declared that she fell in a fever, and was light-headed, and when
she came to her own mind, the woman told her the bairn was dead; and that
the declarant answered, if it was dead it had had foul play. That,
thereupon, the woman was very sair on her, and gave her much ill
language; and that the deponent was frightened, and crawled out of the
house when her back was turned, and went home to Saint Leonard's Crags,
as well as a woman in her condition dought.*

* i.e. Was able to do.

Interrogated, why she did not tell her story to her sister and father,
and get force to search the house for her child, dead or alive? Declares,
it was her purpose to do so, but she had not time. Interrogated, why she
now conceals the name of the woman, and the place of her abode? The
declarant remained silent for a time, and then said, that to do so could
not repair the skaith that was done, but might be the occasion of more.
Interrogated, whether she had herself, at any time, had any purpose of
putting away the child by violence? Declares, never; so might God be
merciful to her--and then again declares, never, when she was in her
perfect senses; but what bad thoughts the Enemy might put into her brain
when she was out of herself, she cannot answer. And again solemnly
interrogated, declares, that she would have been drawn with wild horses,
rather than have touched the bairn with an unmotherly hand. Interrogated,
declares, that among the ill-language the woman gave her, she did say
sure enough that the declarant had hurt the bairn when she was in the
brain fever; but that the declarant does not believe that she said this
from any other cause than to frighten her, and make her be silent.
Interrogated, what else the woman said to her? Declares, that when the
declarant cried loud for her bairn, and was like to raise the neighbours,
the woman threatened her, that they that could stop the wean's skirling
would stop hers, if she did not keep a' the founder.*

* i.e. The quieter.

And that this threat, with the manner of the woman, made the declarant
conclude, that the bairn's life was gone, and her own in danger, for that
the woman was a desperate bad woman, as the declarant judged from the
language she used. Interrogated, declares, that the fever and delirium
were brought on her by hearing bad news, suddenly told to her, but
refuses to say what the said news related to. Interrogated, why she does
not now communicate these particulars, which might, perhaps, enable the
magistrate to ascertain whether the child is living or dead; and
requested to observe, that her refusing to do so, exposes her own life,
and leaves the child in bad hands; as also that her present refusal to
answer on such points is inconsistent with her alleged intention to make
a clean breast to her sister? Declares, that she kens the bairn is now
dead, or, if living, there is one that will look after it; that for her
own living or dying, she is in God's hands, who knows her innocence of
harming her bairn with her will or knowledge; and that she has altered
her resolution of speaking out, which she entertained when she left the
woman's lodging, on account of a matter which she has since learned. And
declares, in general, that she is wearied, and will answer no more
questions at this time."

Upon a subsequent examination, Euphemia Deans adhered to the declaration
she had formerly made, with this addition, that a paper found in her
trunk being shown to her, she admitted that it contained the credentials,
in consequence of which she resigned herself to the conduct of the woman
at whose lodgings she was delivered of the child. Its tenor ran thus:--

"Dearest Effie,--I have gotten the means to send to you by a woman who is
well qualified to assist you in your approaching streight; she is not
what I could wish her, but I cannot do better for you in my present
condition. I am obliged to trust to her in this present calamity, for
myself and you too. I hope for the best, though I am now in a sore pinch;
yet thought is free--I think Handie Dandie and I may queer the stifler*
for all that is come and gone.

* Avoid the gallows.

You will be angry for me writing this to my little Cameronian Lily; but
if I can but live to be a comfort to you, and a father to your babie, you
will have plenty of time to scold.--Once more, let none knew your
counsel--my life depends on this hag, d--n her--she is both deep and
dangerous, but she has more wiles and wit than ever were in a beldam's
head, and has cause to be true to me. Farewell, my Lily--Do not droop on
my account--in a week I will be yours or no more my own."

Then followed a postscript. "If they must truss me, I will repent of
nothing so much, even at the last hard pinch, as of the injury I have
done my Lily."

Effie refused to say from whom she had received this letter, but enough
of the story was now known, to ascertain that it came from Robertson; and
from the date, it appeared to have been written about the time when
Andrew Wilson (called for a nickname Handie Dandie) and he were
meditating their first abortive attempt to escape, which miscarried in
the manner mentioned in the beginning of this history.

The evidence of the Crown being concluded, the counsel for the prisoner
began to lead a proof in her defence. The first witnesses were examined
upon the girl's character. All gave her an excellent one, but none with
more feeling than worthy Mrs. Saddletree, who, with the tears on her
cheeks, declared, that she could not have had a higher opinion of Effie
Deans, nor a more sincere regard for her, if she had been her own
daughter. All present gave the honest woman credit for her goodness of
heart, excepting her husband, who whispered to Dumbiedikes, "That Nichil
Novit of yours is but a raw hand at leading evidence, I'm thinking. What
signified his bringing a woman here to snotter and snivel, and bather
their Lordships? He should hae ceeted me, sir, and I should hae gien them
sic a screed o' testimony, they shauldna hae touched a hair o' her head."

"Hadna ye better get up and tryt yet?" said the Laird. "I'll mak a sign
to Novit."

"Na, na," said Saddletree, "thank ye for naething, neighbour--that would
be ultroneous evidence, and I ken what belangs to that; but Nichil Novit
suld hae had me ceeted _debito tempore._" And wiping his mouth with his
silk handkerchief with great importance, he resumed the port and manner
of an edified and intelligent auditor.

Mr. Fairbrother now premised, in a few words, "that he meant to bring
forward his most important witness, upon whose evidence the cause must in
a great measure depend. What his client was, they had learned from the
preceding witnesses; and so far as general character, given in the most
forcible terms, and even with tears, could interest every one in her
fate, she had already gained that advantage. It was necessary, he
admitted, that he should produce more positive testimony of her innocence
than what arose out of general character, and this he undertook to do by
the mouth of the person to whom she had communicated her situation--by
the mouth of her natural counsellor and guardian--her sister.--Macer,
call into court, Jean, or Jeanie Deans, daughter of David Deans,
cowfeeder, at Saint Leonard's Crags!"

When he uttered these words, the poor prisoner instantly started up, and
stretched herself half-way over the bar, towards the side at which her
sister was to enter. And when, slowly following the officer, the witness
advanced to the foot of the table, Effie, with the whole expression of
her countenance altered, from that of confused shame and dismay, to an
eager, imploring, and almost ecstatic earnestness of entreaty, with
outstretched hands, hair streaming back, eyes raised eagerly to her
sister's face, and glistening through tears, exclaimed in a tone which
went through the heart of all who heard her,--"O Jeanie, Jeanie, save me,
save me!"

With a different feeling, yet equally appropriated to his proud and
self-dependent character, old Deans drew himself back still farther under
the cover of the bench; so that when Jeanie, as she entered the court,
cast a timid glance towards the place at which she had left him seated,
his venerable figure was no longer visible. He sate down on the other
side of Dumbiedikes, wrung his hand hard, and whispered, "Ah, Laird, this
is warst of a'--if I can but win ower this part--I feel my head unco
dizzy; but my Master is strong in his servant's weakness." After a
moment's mental prayer, he again started up, as if impatient of
continuing in any one posture, and gradually edged himself forward
towards the place he had just quitted.

Jeanie in the meantime had advanced to the bottom of the table, when,
unable to resist the impulse of affections she suddenly extended her hand
to her sister. Effie was just within the distance that she could seize it
with both hers, press it to her mouth, cover it with kisses, and bathe it
in tears, with the fond devotion that a Catholic would pay to a guardian
saint descended for his safety; while Jeanie, hiding her own face with
her other hand, wept bitterly. The sight would have moved a heart of
stone, much more of flesh and blood. Many of the spectators shed tears,
and it was some time before the presiding Judge himself could so far
subdue his emotion as to request the witness to compose herself, and the
prisoner to forbear those marks of eager affection, which, however
natural, could not be permitted at that time, and in that presence.

The solemn oath,--"the truth to tell, and no truth to conceal, as far as
she knew or should be asked," was then administered by the Judge "in the
name of God, and as the witness should answer to God at the great day of
judgment;" an awful adjuration, which seldom fails to make impression
even on the most hardened characters, and to strike with fear even the
most upright. Jeanie, educated in deep and devout reverence for the name
and attributes of the Deity, was, by the solemnity of a direct appeal to
his person and justice, awed, but at the same time elevated above all
considerations, save those which she could, with a clear conscience, call
Him to witness. She repeated the form in a low and reverent, but distinct
tone of voice, after the Judge, to whom, and not to any inferior officer
of the Court, the task is assigned in Scotland of directing the witness
in that solemn appeal which is the sanction of his testimony.

When the Judge had finished the established form, he added in a feeling,
but yet a monitory tone, an advice, which the circumstances appeared to
him to call for.

"Young woman," these were his words, "you come before this Court in
circumstances, which it would be worse than cruel not to pity and to
sympathise with. Yet it is my duty to tell you, that the truth, whatever
its consequences may be, the truth is what you owe to your country, and
to that God whose word is truth, and whose name you have now invoked. Use
your own time in answering the questions that gentleman" (pointing to the
counsel) "shall put to you.--But remember, that what you may be tempted
to say beyond what is the actual truth, you must answer both here and
hereafter."

The usual questions were then put to her:--Whether any one had instructed
her what evidence she had to deliver? Whether any one had given or
promised her any good deed, hire, or reward, for her testimony? Whether
she had any malice or ill-will at his Majesty's Advocate, being the party
against whom she was cited as a witness? To which questions she
successively answered by a quiet negative. But their tenor gave great
scandal and offence to her father, who was not aware that they are put to
every witness as a matter of form.

"Na, na," he exclaimed, loud enough to be heard, "my bairn is no like the
Widow of Tekoah--nae man has putten words into her mouth."

One of the judges, better acquainted, perhaps, with the Books of
Adjournal than with the Book of Samuel, was disposed to make some instant
inquiry after this Widow of Tekoah, who, as he construed the matter, had
been tampering with the evidence. But the presiding Judge, better versed
in Scripture history, whispered to his learned brother the necessary
explanation; and the pause occasioned by this mistake had the good effect
of giving Jeanie Deans time to collect her spirits for the painful task
she had to perform.

Fairbrother, whose practice and intelligence were considerable, saw the
necessity of letting the witness compose herself. In his heart he
suspected that she came to bear false witness in her sister's cause.

"But that is her own affair," thought Fairbrother; "and it is my business
to see that she has plenty of time to regain composure, and to deliver
her evidence, be it true, or be it false--_valeat quantum._"

Accordingly, he commenced his interrogatories with uninteresting
questions, which admitted of instant reply.

"You are, I think, the sister of the prisoner?"

"Yes, sir."

"Not the full sister, however?"

"No, sir--we are by different mothers."

"True; and you are, I think, several years older than your sister?"

"Yes, sir," etc.

After the advocate had conceived that, by these preliminary and
unimportant questions, he had familiarised the witness with the situation
in which she stood, he asked, "whether she had not remarked her sister's
state of health to be altered, during the latter part of the term when
she had lived with Mrs. Saddletree?"

Jeanie answered in the affirmative.

"And she told you the cause of it, my dear, I suppose?" said Fairbrother,
in an easy, and, as one may say, an inductive sort of tone.

"I am sorry to interrupt my brother," said the Crown Counsel, rising;
"but I am in your Lordships' judgment, whether this be not a leading
question?"

"If this point is to be debated," said the presiding Judge, "the witness
must be removed."

For the Scottish lawyers regard with a sacred and scrupulous horror every
question so shaped by the counsel examining, as to convey to a witness
the least intimation of the nature of the answer which is desired from
him. These scruples, though founded on an excellent principle, are
sometimes carried to an absurd pitch of nicety, especially as it is
generally easy for a lawyer who has his wits about him to elude the
objection. Fairbrother did so in the present case.

"It is not necessary to waste the time of the Court, my Lord since the
King's Counsel thinks it worth while to object to the form of my
question, I will shape it otherwise.--Pray, young woman, did you ask your
sister any question when you observed her looking unwell?--take
courage--speak out."

"I asked her," replied Jeanie, "what ailed her."

"Very well--take your own time--and what was the answer she made?"
continued Mr. Fairbrother.

Jeanie was silent, and looked deadly pale. It was not that she at any one
instant entertained an idea of the possibility of prevarication--it was
the natural hesitation to extinguish the last spark of hope that remained
for her sister.

"Take courage, young woman," said Fairbrother.--"I asked what your sister
said ailed her when you inquired?"

"Nothing," answered Jeanie, with a faint voice, which was yet heard
distinctly in the most distant corner of the Court-room,--such an awful
and profound silence had been preserved during the anxious interval,
which had interposed betwixt the lawyer's question and the answer of the
witness.

Fairbrother's countenance fell; but with that ready presence of mind,
which is as useful in civil as in military emergencies, he immediately
rallied.--"Nothing? True; you mean nothing at _first_--but when you asked
her again, did she not tell you what ailed her?"

The question was put in a tone meant to make her comprehend the
importance of her answer, had she not been already aware of it. The
ice was broken, however, and with less pause than at first, she now
replied,--"Alack! alack! she never breathed word to me about it."

A deep groan passed through the Court. It was echoed by one deeper and
more agonised from the unfortunate father. The hope to which
unconsciously, and in spite of himself, he had still secretly clung, had
now dissolved, and the venerable old man fell forward senseless on the
floor of the Court-house, with his head at the foot of his terrified
daughter. The unfortunate prisoner, with impotent passion, strove with
the guards betwixt whom she was placed. "Let me gang to my father!--I
_will_ gang to him--I _will_ gang to him--he is dead--he is killed--I hae
killed him!"--she repeated, in frenzied tones of grief, which those who
heard them did not speedily forget.

Even in this moment of agony and general confusion, Jeanie did not lose
that superiority, which a deep and firm mind assures to its possessor
under the most trying circumstances.

"He is my father--he is our father," she mildly repeated to those who
endeavoured to separate them, as she stooped,--shaded aside his grey
hairs, and began assiduously to chafe his temples.

The Judge, after repeatedly wiping his eyes, gave directions that they
should be conducted into a neighbouring apartment, and carefully
attended. The prisoner, as her father was borne from the Court, and her
sister slowly followed, pursued them with her eyes so earnestly fixed, as
if they would have started from their sockets. But when they were no
longer visible, she seemed to find, in her despairing and deserted state,
a courage which she had not yet exhibited.

"The bitterness of it is now past," she said, and then boldly, addressed
the Court. "My Lords, if it is your pleasure to gang on wi' this matter,
the weariest day will hae its end at last."

The Judge, who, much to his honour, had shared deeply in the general
sympathy, was surprised at being recalled to his duty by the prisoner. He
collected himself, and requested to know if the panel's counsel had more
evidence to produce. Fairbrother replied, with an air of dejection, that
his proof was concluded.

The King's Counsel addressed the jury for the crown. He said in a few
words, that no one could be more concerned than he was for the
distressing scene which they had just witnessed. But it was the necessary
consequence of great crimes to bring distress and ruin upon all connected
with the perpetrators. He briefly reviewed the proof, in which he showed
that all the circumstances of the case concurred with those required by
the act under which the unfortunate prisoner was tried: That the counsel
for the panel had totally failed in proving, that Euphemia Deans had
communicated her situation to her sister: That, respecting her previous
good character, he was sorry to observe, that it was females who
possessed the world's good report, and to whom it was justly valuable,
who were most strongly tempted, by shame and fear of the world's censure,
to the crime of infanticide: That the child was murdered, he professed to
entertain no doubt. The vacillating and inconsistent declaration of the
prisoner herself, marked as it was by numerous refusals to speak the
truth on subjects, when, according to her own story, it would have been
natural, as well as advantageous, to have been candid; even this
imperfect declaration left no doubt in his mind as to the fate of the
unhappy infant. Neither could he doubt that the panel was a partner in
this guilt. Who else had an interest in a deed so inhuman? Surely neither
Robertson, nor Robertson's agent, in whose house she was delivered,
had the least temptation to commit such a crime, unless upon her account,
with her connivance, and for the sake of saying her reputation. But it
was not required of him, by the law, that he should bring precise proof
of the murder, or of the prisoner's accession to it. It was the very
purpose of the statute to substitute a certain chain of presumptive
evidence in place of a probation, which, in such cases, it was peculiarly
difficult to obtain. The jury might peruse the statute itself, and they
had also the libel and interlocutor of relevancy to direct them in point
of law. He put it to the conscience of the jury, that under both he was
entitled to a verdict of Guilty.

The charge of Fairbrother was much cramped by his having failed in the
proof which he expected to lead. But he fought his losing cause with
courage and constancy. He ventured to arraign the severity of the statute
under which the young woman was tried. "In all other cases," he said,
"the first thing required of the criminal prosecutor was to prove
unequivocally that the crime libelled had actually been committed, which
lawyers called proving the _corpus delicti._ But this statute, made
doubtless with the best intentions, and under the impulse of a just
horror for the unnatural crime of infanticide, ran the risk of itself
occasioning the worst of murders, the death of an innocent person, to
atone for a supposed crime which may never have been committed by anyone.
He was so far from acknowledging the alleged probability of the child's
violent death, that he could not even allow that there was evidence of
its having ever lived."

The King's Counsel pointed to the woman's declaration; to which the
counsel replied--"A production concocted in a moment of terror and agony,
and which approached to insanity," he said, "his learned brother well
knew was no sound evidence against the party who emitted it. It was true,
that a judicial confession, in presence of the Justices themselves, was
the strongest of all proof, insomuch that it is said in law, that '_in
confitentem nullae sunt partes judicis._' But this was true of judicial
confession only, by which law meant that which is made in presence of the
justices, and the sworn inquest. Of extrajudicial confession, all
authorities held with the illustrious Farinaceus and Matthaeus,
'_confessio extrajudicialis in se nulla est; et quod nullum est, non
potest adminiculari._' It was totally inept, and void of all strength and
effect from the beginning; incapable, therefore, of being bolstered up or
supported, or, according to the law phrase, adminiculated, by other
presumptive circumstances. In the present case, therefore, letting the
extrajudicial confession go, as it ought to go, for nothing," he
contended, "the prosecutor had not made out the second quality of the
statute, that a live child had been born; and _that,_ at least, ought to
be established before presumptions were received that it had been
murdered. If any of the assize," he said, "should be of opinion that this
was dealing rather narrowly with the statute, they ought to consider that
it was in its nature highly penal, and therefore entitled to no
favourable construction."

He concluded a learned speech, with an eloquent peroration on the scene
they had just witnessed, during which Saddletree fell fast asleep.

It was now the presiding Judge's turn to address the jury. He did so
briefly and distinctly.

"It was for the jury," he said, "to consider whether the prosecutor had
made out his plea. For himself, he sincerely grieved to say, that a
shadow of doubt remained not upon his mind concerning the verdict which
the inquest had to bring in. He would not follow the prisoner's counsel
through the impeachment which he had brought against the statute of King
William and Queen Mary. He and the jury were sworn to judge according to
the laws as they stood, not to criticise, or evade, or even to justify
them. In no civil case would a counsel have been permitted to plead his
client's case in the teeth of the law; but in the hard situation in which
counsel were often placed in the Criminal Court, as well as out of favour
to all presumptions of innocence, he had not inclined to interrupt the
learned gentleman, or narrow his plea. The present law, as it now stood,
had been instituted by the wisdom of their fathers, to check the alarming
progress of a dreadful crime; when it was found too severe for its
purpose it would doubtless be altered by the wisdom of the Legislature;
at present it was the law of the land, the rule of the Court, and,
according to the oath which they had taken, it must be that of the jury.
This unhappy girl's situation could not be doubted; that she had borne a
child, and that the child had disappeared, were certain facts. The
learned counsel had failed to show that she had communicated her
situation. All the requisites of the case required by the statute were
therefore before the jury. The learned gentleman had, indeed, desired
them to throw out of consideration the panel's own confession, which was
the plea usually urged, in penury of all others, by counsel in his
situation, who usually felt that the declarations of their clients bore
hard on them. But that the Scottish law designed that a certain weight
should be laid on these declarations, which, he admitted, were
_quodammodo_ extrajudicial, was evident from the universal practice by
which they were always produced and read, as part of the prosecutor's
probation. In the present case, no person who had heard the witnesses
describe the appearance of the young woman before she left Saddletree's
house, and contrasted it with that of her state and condition at her
return to her father's, could have any doubt that the fact of delivery
had taken place, as set forth in her own declaration, which was,
therefore, not a solitary piece of testimony, but adminiculated and
supported by the strongest circumstantial proof.

"He did not," he said, "state the impression upon his own mind with the
purpose of biassing theirs. He had felt no less than they had done from
the scene of domestic misery which had been exhibited before them; and if
they, having God and a good conscience, the sanctity of their oath, and
the regard due to the law of the country, before their eyes, could come
to a conclusion favourable to this unhappy prisoner, he should rejoice as
much as anyone in Court; for never had he found his duty more distressing
than in discharging it that day, and glad he would be to be relieved from
the still more painful task which would otherwise remain for him."

The jury, having heard the Judge's address, bowed and retired, preceded
by a macer of Court, to the apartment destined for their deliberation.



CHAPTER TWENTY-THIRD.


             Law, take thy victim--May she find the mercy
             In yon mild heaven, which this hard world denies her!

It was an hour ere the jurors returned, and as they traversed the crowd
with slow steps, as men about to discharge themselves of a heavy and
painful responsibility, the audience was hushed into profound, earnest,
and awful silence.

"Have you agreed on your chancellor, gentlemen?" was the first question
of the Judge.

The foreman, called in Scotland the chancellor of the jury, usually the
man of best rank and estimation among the assizers, stepped forward, and
with a low reverence, delivered to the Court a sealed paper, containing
the verdict, which, until of late years, that verbal returns are in some
instances permitted, was always couched in writing. The jury remained
standing while the Judge broke the seals, and having perused the paper,
handed it with an air of mournful gravity down to the clerk of Court, who
proceeded to engross in the record the yet unknown verdict, of which,
however, all omened the tragical contents. A form still remained,
trifling and unimportant in itself, but to which imagination adds a sort
of solemnity, from the awful occasion upon which it is used. A lighted
candle was placed on the table, the original paper containing the verdict
was enclosed in a sheet of paper, and, sealed with the Judge's own
signet, was transmitted to the Crown Office, to be preserved among other
records of the same kind. As all this is transacted in profound silence,
the producing and extinguishing the candle seems a type of the human
spark which is shortly afterwards doomed to be quenched, and excites in
the spectators something of the same effect which in England is obtained
by the Judge assuming the fatal cap of judgment. When these preliminary
forms had been gone through, the Judge required Euphemia Deans to attend
to the verdict to be read.

After the usual words of style, the verdict set forth, that the Jury
having made choice of John Kirk, Esq., to be their chancellor, and Thomas
Moore, merchant, to be their clerk, did, by a plurality of voices, find
the said Euphemia Deans Guilty of the crime libelled; but, in
consideration of her extreme youth, and the cruel circumstances of her
case, did earnestly entreat that the Judge would recommend her to the
mercy of the Crown.

"Gentlemen," said the Judge, "you have done your duty--and a painful one
it must have been to men of humanity like you. I will undoubtedly
transmit your recommendation to the throne. But it is my duty to tell all
who now hear me, but especially to inform that unhappy young woman, in
order that her mind may be settled accordingly, that I have not the least
hope of a pardon being granted in the present case. You know the crime
has been increasing in this land, and I know farther, that this has been
ascribed to the lenity in which the laws have been exercised, and that
there is therefore no hope whatever of obtaining a remission for this
offence." The jury bowed again, and, released from their painful office,
dispersed themselves among the mass of bystanders.

The Court then asked Mr. Fairbrother whether he had anything to say, why
judgment should not follow on the verdict? The counsel had spent some
time in persuing and reperusing the verdict, counting the letters in each
juror's name, and weighing every phrase, nay, every syllable, in the
nicest scales of legal criticism. But the clerk of the jury had
understood his business too well. No flaw was to be found, and
Fairbrother mournfully intimated, that he had nothing to say in arrest of
judgment.

The presiding Judge then addressed the unhappy prisoner:--"Euphemia
Deans, attend to the sentence of the Court now to be pronounced against
you."

She rose from her seat, and with a composure far greater than could have
been augured from her demeanour during some parts of the trial, abode the
conclusion of the awful scene. So nearly does the mental portion of our
feelings resemble those which are corporeal, that the first severe blows
which we receive bring with them a stunning apathy, which renders us
indifferent to those that follow them. Thus said Mandrin, when he was
undergoing the punishment of the wheel; and so have all felt, upon whom
successive inflictions have descended with continuous and reiterated
violence.*

* [The notorious Mandrin was known as the Captain-General of French &
smugglers. See a Tract on his exploits, printed 1753.]

"Young woman," said the Judge, "it is my painful duty to tell you, that
your life is forfeited under a law, which, if it may seem in some degree
severe, is yet wisely so, to render those of your unhappy situation aware
what risk they run, by concealing, out of pride or false shame, their
lapse from virtue, and making no preparation to save the lives of the
unfortunate infants whom they are to bring into the world. When you
concealed your situation from your mistress, your sister, and other
worthy and compassionate persons of your own sex, in whose favour your
former conduct had given you a fair place, you seem to me to have had in
your contemplation, at least, the death of the helpless creature, for
whose life you neglected to provide. How the child was disposed
of--whether it was dealt upon by another, or by yourself--whether the
extraordinary story you have told is partly false, or altogether so, is
between God and your own conscience. I will not aggravate your distress
by pressing on that topic, but I do most solemnly adjure you to employ
the remaining space of your time in making your peace with God, for which
purpose such reverend clergymen, as you yourself may name, shall have
access to you. Notwithstanding the humane recommendation of the jury, I
cannot afford to you, in the present circumstances of the country, the
slightest hope that your life will be prolonged beyond the period
assigned for the execution of your sentence. Forsaking, therefore, the
thoughts of this world, let your mind be prepared by repentance for those
of more awful moments--for death, judgment, and eternity.--Doomster, read
the sentence."*

* Note N. Doomster, or Dempster, of Court.

When the Doomster showed himself, a tall haggard figure, arrayed in a
fantastic garment of black and grey, passmented with silver lace, all
fell back with a sort of instinctive horror, and made wide way for him to
approach the foot of the table. As this office was held by the common
executioner, men shouldered each other backward to avoid even the touch
of his garment, and some were seen to brush their own clothes, which had
accidentally become subject to such contamination. A sound went through
the Court, produced by each person drawing in their breath hard, as men
do when they expect or witness what is frightful, and at the same time
affecting. The caitiff villain yet seemed, amid his hardened brutality,
to have some sense of his being the object of public detestation, which
made him impatient of being in public, as birds of evil omen are anxious
to escape from daylight, and from pure air.

Repeating after the Clerk of Court, he gabbled over the words of the
sentence, which condemned Euphemia Deans to be conducted back to the
Tolbooth of Edinburgh, and detained there until Wednesday the day of ---;
and upon that day, betwixt the hours of two and four o'clock afternoon,
to be conveyed to the common place of execution, and there hanged by the
neck upon a gibbet. "And this," said the Doomster, aggravating his harsh
voice, "I pronounce for _doom._"

He vanished when he had spoken the last emphatic word, like a foul fiend
after the purpose of his visitation had been accomplished; but the
impression of horror excited by his presence and his errand, remained
upon the crowd of spectators.

The unfortunate criminal,--for so she must now be termed,--with more
susceptibility, and more irritable feelings than her father and sister,
was found, in this emergence, to possess a considerable share of their
courage. She had remained standing motionless at the bar while the
sentence was pronounced, and was observed to shut her eyes when the
Doomster appeared. But she was the first to break silence when that evil
form had left his place.

"God forgive ye, my Lords," she said, "and dinna be angry wi' me for
wishing it--we a' need forgiveness.--As for myself, I canna blame ye, for
ye act up to your lights; and if I havena killed my poor infant, ye may
witness a' that hae seen it this day, that I hae been the means of
killing my greyheaded father--I deserve the warst frae man, and frae God
too--But God is mair mercifu' to us than we are to each other."

With these words the trial concluded. The crowd rushed, bearing forward
and shouldering each other, out of the Court, in the same tumultuary mode
in which they had entered; and, in excitation of animal motion and animal
spirits, soon forgot whatever they had felt as impressive in the scene
which they had witnessed. The professional spectators, whom habit and
theory had rendered as callous to the distress of the scene as medical
men are to those of a surgical operation, walked homeward in groups,
discussing the general principle of the statute under which the young
woman was condemned, the nature of the evidence, and the arguments of the
counsel, without considering even that of the Judge as exempt from their
criticism.

The female spectators, more compassionate, were loud in exclamation
against that part of the Judge's speech which seemed to cut off the hope
of pardon.

"Set him up, indeed," said Mrs. Howden, "to tell us that the poor lassie
behoved to die, when Mr. John Kirk, as civil a gentleman as is within the
ports of the town, took the pains to prigg for her himsell."

"Ay, but, neighbour," said Miss Damahoy, drawing up her thin maidenly
form to its full height of prim dignity--"I really think this unnatural
business of having bastard-bairns should be putten a stop to.--There isna
a hussy now on this side of thirty that you can bring within your doors,
but there will be chields--writer-lads, prentice-lads, and what
not--coming traiking after them for their destruction, and discrediting
ane's honest house into the bargain--I hae nae patience wi' them."

"Hout, neighbour," said Mrs. Howden, "we suld live and let live--we hae
been young oursells, and we are no aye to judge the warst when lads and
lasses forgather."

"Young oursells! and judge the warst!" said Miss Damahoy. "I am no sae
auld as that comes to, Mrs. Howden; and as for what ye ca' the warst, I
ken neither good nor bad about the matter, I thank my stars!"

"Ye are thankfu' for sma' mercies, then," said Mrs. Howden with a toss of
her head; "and as for you and young--I trow ye were doing for yoursell at
the last riding of the Scots Parliament, and that was in the gracious
year seven, sae ye can be nae sic chicken at ony rate."

Plumdamas, who acted as squire of the body to the two contending dames,
instantly saw the hazard of entering into such delicate points of
chronology, and being a lover of peace and good neighbourhood, lost no
time in bringing back the conversation to its original subject.

"The Judge didna tell us a' he could hae tell'd us, if he had liked,
about the application for pardon, neighbours," said he "there is aye a
wimple in a lawyer's clew; but it's a wee bit of a secret."

"And what is't--what is't, neighbour Plumdamas?" said Mrs. Howden and
Miss Damahoy at once, the acid fermentation of their dispute being at
once neutralised by the powerful alkali implied in the word secret.

"Here's Mr. Saddletree can tell ye that better than me, for it was him
that tauld me," said Plumdamas as Saddletree came up, with his wife
hanging on his arm, and looking very disconsolate.

When the question was put to Saddletree, he looked very scornful. "They
speak about stopping the frequency of child-murder," said he, in a
contemptuous tone; "do ye think our auld enemies of England, as Glendook
aye ca's them in his printed Statute-book, care a boddle whether we didna
kill ane anither, skin and birn, horse and foot, man, woman, and bairns,
all and sindry, _omnes et singulos,_ as Mr. Crossmyloof says? Na, na,
it's no _that_ hinders them frae pardoning the bit lassie. But here is
the pinch of the plea. The king and queen are sae ill pleased wi' that
mistak about Porteous, that deil a kindly Scot will they pardon again,
either by reprieve or remission, if the haill town o' Edinburgh should be
a' hanged on ae tow."

"Deil that they were back at their German kale-yard then, as my neighbour
MacCroskie ca's it," said Mrs. Howden, "an that's the way they're gaun to
guide us!"

"They say for certain," said Miss Damahoy, "that King George flang his
periwig in the fire when he heard o' the Porteous mob."

"He has done that, they say," replied Saddletree, "for less thing."

"Aweel," said Miss Damahoy, "he might keep mair wit in his anger--but
it's a' the better for his wigmaker, I'se warrant."

"The queen tore her biggonets for perfect anger,--ye'll hae heard o' that
too?" said Plumdamas. "And the king, they say, kickit Sir Robert Walpole
for no keeping down the mob of Edinburgh; but I dinna believe he wad
behave sae ungenteel."

"It's dooms truth, though," said Saddletree; "and he was for kickin' the
Duke of Argyle* too."

* Note O. John Duke of Argyle and Greenwich.

"Kickin' the Duke of Argyle!" exclaimed the hearers at once, in all the
various combined keys of utter astonishment.

"Ay, but MacCallummore's blood wadna sit down wi' that; there was risk of
Andro Ferrara coming in thirdsman."

"The duke is a real Scotsman--a true friend to the country," answered
Saddletree's hearers.

"Ay, troth is he, to king and country baith, as ye sall hear," continued
the orator, "if ye will come in bye to our house, for it's safest
speaking of sic things _inter parietes._"

When they entered his shop, he thrust his prentice boy out of it, and,
unlocking his desk, took out, with an air of grave and complacent
importance, a dirty and crumpled piece of printed paper; he observed,
"This is new corn--it's no every body could show you the like o' this.
It's the duke's speech about the Porteous mob, just promulgated by the
hawkers. Ye shall hear what Ian Roy Cean* says for himsell.

* Red John the warrior, a name personal and proper in the Highlands to
John Duke of Argyle and Greenwich, as MacCummin was that of his race or
dignity.

My correspondent bought it in the Palace-yard, that's like just under the
king's nose--I think he claws up their mittans!--It came in a letter
about a foolish bill of exchange that the man wanted me to renew for him.
I wish ye wad see about it, Mrs. Saddletree."

Honest Mrs. Saddletree had hitherto been so sincerely distressed about
the situation of her unfortunate prote'ge'e, that she had suffered her
husband to proceed in his own way, without attending to what he was
saying. The words bills and renew had, however, an awakening sound in
them; and she snatched the letter which her husband held towards her, and
wiping her eyes, and putting on her spectacles, endeavoured, as fast as
the dew which collected on her glasses would permit, to get at the
meaning of the needful part of the epistle; while her husband, with
pompous elevation, read an extract from the speech.

"I am no minister, I never was a minister, and I never will be one"

"I didna ken his Grace was ever designed for the ministry," interrupted
Mrs. Howden.

"He disna mean a minister of the gospel, Mrs. Howden, but a minister of
state," said Saddletree, with condescending goodness, and then proceeded:
"The time was when I might have been a piece of a minister, but I was too
sensible of my own incapacity to engage in any state affair. And I thank
God that I had always too great a value for those few abilities which
Nature has given me, to employ them in doing any drudgery, or any job of
what kind soever. I have, ever since I set out in the world (and I
believe few have set out more early), served my prince with my tongue; I
have served him with any little interest I had, and I have served him
with my sword, and in my profession of arms. I have held employments
which I have lost, and were I to be to-morrow deprived of those which
still remain to me, and which I have endeavoured honestly to deserve, I
would still serve him to the last acre of my inheritance, and to the last
drop of my blood--"

Mrs. Saddletree here broke in upon the orator:--"Mr. Saddletree, what
_is_ the meaning of a' this? Here are ye clavering about the Duke of
Argyle, and this man Martingale gaun to break on our hands, and lose us
gude sixty pounds--I wonder what duke will pay that, quotha--I wish the
Duke of Argyle would pay his ain accounts--He is in a thousand punds
Scots on thae very books when he was last at Roystoun--I'm no saying but
he's a just nobleman, and that it's gude siller--but it wad drive ane
daft to be confused wi' deukes and drakes, and thae distressed folk
up-stairs, that's Jeanie Deans and her father. And then, putting the very
callant that was sewing the curpel out o' the shop, to play wi'
blackguards in the close--Sit still, neighbours, it's no that I mean to
disturb _you;_ but what between courts o' law and courts o' state, and
upper and under parliaments, and parliament houses, here and in London,
the gudeman's gane clean gyte, I think."

The gossips understood civility, and the rule of doing as they would be
done by, too well, to tarry upon the slight invitation implied in the
conclusion of this speech, and therefore made their farewells and
departure as fast as possible, Saddletree whispering to Plundamas that he
would "meet him at MacCroskie's" (the low-browed shop in the
Luckenbooths, already mentioned), "in the hour of cause, and put
MacCallummore's speech in his pocket, for a' the gudewife's din."

When Mrs. Saddletree saw the house freed of her importunate visitors, and
the little boy reclaimed from the pastimes of the wynd to the exercise of
the awl, she went to visit her unhappy relative, David Deans, and his
elder daughter, who had found in her house the nearest place of friendly
refuge.


End of Vol. 1.



THE HEART OF MID-LOTHIAN, Volume 2

By Walter Scott



TALES OF MY LANDLORD

COLLECTED AND ARRANGED

BY JEDEDIAH CLEISHBOTHAM,

SCHOOLMASTER AND PARISH CLERK

OF GANDERCLEUGH.



SECOND SERIES.


[Illustration: Titlepage]



THE HEART OF MID-LOTHIAN.



CHAPTER FIRST.

                         Isab.--Alas! what poor ability's in me
                         To do him good?
                         Lucio.--Assay the power you have.
                                              Measure for Measure.

When Mrs. Saddletree entered the apartment in which her guests had
shrouded their misery, she found the window darkened. The feebleness
which followed his long swoon had rendered it necessary to lay the old
man in bed. The curtains were drawn around him, and Jeanie sate
motionless by the side of the bed. Mrs. Saddletree was a woman of
kindness, nay, of feeling, but not of delicacy. She opened the half-shut
window, drew aside the curtain, and, taking her kinsman by the hand,
exhorted him to sit up, and bear his sorrow like a good man, and a
Christian man, as he was. But when she quitted his hand, it fell
powerless by his side, nor did he attempt the least reply.

"Is all over?" asked Jeanie, with lips and cheeks as pale as ashes,--"and
is there nae hope for her?"

"Nane, or next to nane," said Mrs. Saddletree; "I heard the Judge-carle
say it with my ain ears--It was a burning shame to see sae mony o' them
set up yonder in their red gowns and black gowns, and to take the life o'
a bit senseless lassie. I had never muckle broo o' my gudeman's gossips,
and now I like them waur than ever. The only wiselike thing I heard
onybody say, was decent Mr. John Kirk of Kirk-knowe, and he wussed them
just to get the king's mercy, and nae mair about it. But he spake to
unreasonable folk--he might just hae keepit his breath to hae blawn on
his porridge."

"But _can_ the king gie her mercy?" said Jeanie, earnestly. "Some folk
tell me he canna gie mercy in cases of mur in cases like hers."

"_Can_ he gie mercy, hinny?--I weel I wot he can, when he likes. There
was young Singlesword, that stickit the Laird of Ballencleuch, and
Captain Hackum, the Englishman, that killed Lady Colgrain's gudeman, and
the Master of Saint Clair, that shot the twa Shaws,* and mony mair in my
time--to be sure they were gentle blood, and had their kin to speak for
them--And there was Jock Porteous the other day--I'se warrant there's
mercy, an folk could win at it."

* [In 1828, the Author presented to the Roxburgh Club a curious volume
containing the "Proceedings in the Court-Martial held upon John, Master
of Sinclair, for the murder of Ensign Schaw, and Captain Schaw, 17th
October 1708."]

"Porteous?" said Jeanie; "very true--I forget a' that I suld maist mind.--
Fare ye weel, Mrs. Saddletree; and may ye never want a friend in the
hour of distress!"

"Will ye no stay wi' your father, Jeanie, bairn?--Ye had better," said
Mrs. Saddletree.

"I will be wanted ower yonder," indicating the Tolbooth with her hand,
"and I maun leave him now, or I will never be able to leave him. I fearna
for his life--I ken how strong-hearted he is--I ken it," she said, laying
her hand on her bosom, "by my ain heart at this minute."

"Weel, hinny, if ye think it's for the best, better he stay here and rest
him, than gang back to St. Leonard's."

"Muckle better--muckle better--God bless you!--God bless you!--At no rate
let him gang till ye hear frae me," said Jeanie.

"But ye'll be back belive?" said Mrs. Saddletree, detaining her; "they
winna let ye stay yonder, hinny."

"But I maun gang to St. Leonard's--there's muckle to be dune, and little
time to do it in--And I have friends to speak to--God bless you--take
care of my father."

She had reached the door of the apartment, when, suddenly turning, she
came back, and knelt down by the bedside.--"O father, gie me your
blessing--I dare not go till ye bless me. Say but 'God bless ye, and
prosper ye, Jeanie'--try but to say that!"

Instinctively, rather than by an exertion of intellect, the old man
murmured a prayer, that "purchased and promised blessings might be
multiplied upon her."

"He has blessed mine errand," said his daughter, rising from her knees,
"and it is borne in upon my mind that I shall prosper."

So saying, she left the room.

Mrs. Saddletree looked after her, and shook her head. "I wish she binna
roving, poor thing--There's something queer about a' thae Deanses. I
dinna like folk to be sae muckle better than other folk--seldom comes
gude o't. But if she's gaun to look after the kye at St. Leonard's,
that's another story; to be sure they maun be sorted.--Grizzie, come up
here, and tak tent to the honest auld man, and see he wants naething.--Ye
silly tawpie" (addressing the maid-servant as she entered), "what garr'd
ye busk up your cockemony that gate?--I think there's been enough the day
to gie an awfa' warning about your cockups and your fallal duds--see what
they a' come to," etc. etc. etc.

Leaving the good lady to her lecture upon worldly vanities, we must
transport our reader to the cell in which the unfortunate Effie Deans was
now immured, being restricted of several liberties which she had enjoyed
before the sentence was pronounced.

When she had remained about an hour in the state of stupified horror so
natural in her situation, she was disturbed by the opening of the jarring
bolts of her place of confinement, and Ratcliffe showed himself. "It's
your sister," he said, "wants to speak t'ye, Effie."

"I canna see naebody," said Effie, with the hasty irritability which
misery had rendered more acute--"I canna see naebody, and least of a'
her--Bid her take care o' the auld man--I am naething to ony o' them now,
nor them to me."

"She says she maun see ye, though," said Ratcliffe; and Jeanie, rushing
into the apartment, threw her arms round her sister's neck, who writhed
to extricate herself from her embrace.

"What signifies coming to greet ower me," said poor Effie, "when you have
killed me?--killed me, when a word of your mouth would have saved
me--killed me, when I am an innocent creature--innocent of that guilt at
least--and me that wad hae wared body and soul to save your finger from
being hurt?"

"You shall not die," said Jeanie, with enthusiastic firmness; "say what
you like o' me--think what you like o' me--only promise--for I doubt your
proud heart--that ye wunna harm yourself, and you shall not die this
shameful death."

"A _shameful_ death I will not die, Jeanie, lass. I have that in my
heart--though it has been ower kind a ane--that wunna bide shame. Gae
hame to our father, and think nae mair on me--I have eat my last earthly
meal."

"Oh, this was what I feared!" said Jeanie.

"Hout, tout, hinny," said Ratcliffe; "it's but little ye ken o' thae
things. Ane aye thinks at the first dinnle o' the sentence, they hae
heart eneugh to die rather than bide out the sax weeks; but they aye bide
the sax weeks out for a' that. I ken the gate o't weel; I hae fronted the
doomster three times, and here I stand, Jim Ratcliffe, for a' that. Had I
tied my napkin strait the first time, as I had a great mind till't--and
it was a' about a bit grey cowt, wasna worth ten punds sterling--where
would I have been now?"

"And how _did_ you escape?" said Jeanie, the fates of this man, at first
so odious to her, having acquired a sudden interest in her eyes from
their correspondence with those of her sister.

"_How_ did I escape?" said Ratcliffe, with a knowing wink,--"I tell ye I
'scapit in a way that naebody will escape from this Tolbooth while I keep
the keys."

"My sister shall come out in the face of the sun," said Jeanie; "I will
go to London, and beg her pardon from the king and queen. If they
pardoned Porteous, they may pardon her; if a sister asks a sister's life
on her bended knees, they will pardon her--they _shall_ pardon her--and
they will win a thousand hearts by it."

Effie listened in bewildered astonishment, and so earnest was her
sister's enthusiastic assurance, that she almost involuntarily caught a
gleam of hope; but it instantly faded away.

"Ah, Jeanie! the king and queen live in London, a thousand miles from
this--far ayont the saut sea; I'll be gane before ye win there."

"You are mistaen," said Jeanie; "it is no sae far, and they go to it by
land; I learned something about thae things from Reuben Butler."

"Ah, Jeanie! ye never learned onything but what was gude frae the folk ye
keepit company wi'; but!--but!"--she wrung her hands and wept bitterly.

"Dinna think on that now," said Jeanie; "there will be time for that if
the present space be redeemed. Fare ye weel. Unless I die by the road, I
will see the king's face that gies grace--O, sir" (to Ratcliffe), "be
kind to her--She ne'er ken'd what it was to need a stranger's kindness
till now.--Fareweel--fareweel, Effie!--Dinna speak to me--I maunna greet
now--my head's ower dizzy already!"

She tore herself from her sister's arms, and left the cell. Ratcliffe
followed her, and beckoned her into a small room. She obeyed his signal,
but not without trembling.

"What's the fule thing shaking for?" said he; "I mean nothing but
civility to you. D--n me, I respect you, and I can't help it. You have so
much spunk, that d--n me, but I think there's some chance of your
carrying the day. But you must not go to the king till you have made some
friend; try the duke--try MacCallummore; he's Scotland's friend--I ken
that the great folks dinna muckle like him--but they fear him, and that
will serve your purpose as weel. D'ye ken naebody wad gie ye a letter to
him?"

"Duke of Argyle!" said Jeanie, recollecting herself suddenly, "what was
he to that Argyle that suffered in my father's time--in the persecution?"

"His son or grandson, I'm thinking," said Ratcliffe, "but what o' that?"

"Thank God!" said Jeanie, devoutly clasping her hands.

"You whigs are aye thanking God for something," said the ruffian. "But
hark ye, hinny, I'll tell ye a secret. Ye may meet wi' rough customers on
the Border, or in the Midland, afore ye get to Lunnon. Now, deil ane o'
them will touch an acquaintance o' Daddie Ratton's; for though I am
retired frae public practice, yet they ken I can do a gude or an ill turn
yet--and deil a gude fellow that has been but a twelvemonth on the lay,
be he ruffler or padder, but he knows my gybe* as well as the jark** of
e'er a queer cuffin*** in England--and there's rogue's Latin for you."

* Pass.
** Seal.
*** Justice of Peace.

It was indeed totally unintelligible to Jeanie Deans, who was only
impatient to escape from him. He hastily scrawled a line or two on a
dirty piece of paper, and said to her, as she drew back when he offered
it, "Hey!--what the deil--it wunna bite you, my lass--if it does nae
gude, it can do nae ill. But I wish you to show it, if you have ony
fasherie wi' ony o' St. Nicholas's clerks."

"Alas!" said she, "I do not understand what you mean."

"I mean, if ye fall among thieves, my precious,--that is a Scripture
phrase, if ye will hae ane--the bauldest of them will ken a scart o' my
guse feather. And now awa wi' ye--and stick to Argyle; if onybody can do
the job, it maun be him."

After casting an anxious look at the grated windows and blackened walls
of the old Tolbooth, and another scarce less anxious at the hospitable
lodging of Mrs. Saddletree, Jeanie turned her back on that quarter, and
soon after on the city itself. She reached St. Leonard's Crags without
meeting any one whom she knew, which, in the state of her mind, she
considered as a great blessing. "I must do naething," she thought, as she
went along, "that can soften or weaken my heart--it's ower weak already
for what I hae to do. I will think and act as firmly as I can, and speak
as little."

There was an ancient servant, or rather cottar, of her father's, who had
lived under him for many years, and whose fidelity was worthy of full
confidence. She sent for this woman, and explaining to her that the
circumstances of her family required that she should undertake a journey,
which would detain her for some weeks from home, she gave her full
instructions concerning the management of the domestic concerns in her
absence. With a precision, which, upon reflection, she herself could not
help wondering at, she described and detailed the most minute steps which
were to be taken, and especially such as were necessary for her father's
comfort. "It was probable," she said, "that he would return to St.
Leonard's to-morrow! certain that he would return very soon--all must be
in order for him. He had eneugh to distress him, without being fashed
about warldly matters."

In the meanwhile she toiled busily, along with May Hettly, to leave
nothing unarranged.

It was deep in the night when all these matters were settled; and when
they had partaken of some food, the first which Jeanie had tasted on that
eventful day, May Hettly, whose usual residence was a cottage at a little
distance from Deans's house, asked her young mistress, whether she would
not permit her to remain in the house all night? "Ye hae had an awfu'
day," she said, "and sorrow and fear are but bad companions in the
watches of the night, as I hae heard the gudeman say himself."

"They are ill companions indeed," said Jeanie; "but I maun learn to abide
their presence, and better begin in the house than in the field."

She dismissed her aged assistant accordingly,--for so slight was the
gradation in their rank of life, that we can hardly term May a
servant,--and proceeded to make a few preparations for her journey.

The simplicity of her education and country made these preparations very
brief and easy. Her tartan screen served all the purposes of a
riding-habit and of an umbrella; a small bundle contained such changes of
linen as were absolutely necessary. Barefooted, as Sancho says, she had
come into the world, and barefooted she proposed to perform her
pilgrimage; and her clean shoes and change of snow-white thread stockings
were to be reserved for special occasions of ceremony. She was not aware,
that the English habits of comfort attach an idea of abject misery to the
idea of a barefooted traveller; and if the objection of cleanliness had
been made to the practice, she would have been apt to vindicate herself
upon the very frequent ablutions to which, with Mahometan scrupulosity, a
Scottish damsel of some condition usually subjects herself. Thus far,
therefore, all was well.

From an oaken press, or cabinet, in which her father kept a few old
books, and two or three bundles of papers, besides his ordinary accounts
and receipts, she sought out and extracted from a parcel of notes of
sermons, calculations of interest, records of dying speeches of the
martyrs, and the like, one or two documents which she thought might be of
some use to her upon her mission. But the most important difficulty
remained behind, and it had not occurred to her until that very evening.
It was the want of money; without which it was impossible she could
undertake so distant a journey as she now meditated.

David Deans, as we have said, was easy, and even opulent in his
circumstances. But his wealth, like that of the patriarchs of old,
consisted in his kine and herds, and in two or three sums lent out at
interest to neighbours or relatives, who, far from being in circumstances
to pay anything to account of the principal sums, thought they did all
that was incumbent on them when, with considerable difficulty, they
discharged the "annual rent." To these debtors it would be in vain,
therefore, to apply, even with her father's concurrence; nor could she
hope to obtain such concurrence, or assistance in any mode, without such
a series of explanations and debates as she felt might deprive her
totally of the power of taking the step, which, however daring and
hazardous, she felt was absolutely necessary for trying the last chance
in favour of her sister. Without departing from filial reverence, Jeanie
had an inward conviction that the feelings of her father, however just,
and upright, and honourable, were too little in unison with the spirit of
the time to admit of his being a good judge of the measures to be adopted
in this crisis. Herself more flexible in manner, though no less upright
in principle, she felt that to ask his consent to her pilgrimage would be
to encounter the risk of drawing down his positive prohibition, and under
that she believed her journey could not be blessed in its progress and
event. Accordingly, she had determined upon the means by which she might
communicate to him her undertaking and its purpose, shortly after her
actual departure. But it was impossible to apply to him for money without
altering this arrangement, and discussing fully the propriety of her
journey; pecuniary assistance from that quarter, therefore, was laid out
of the question.

It now occurred to Jeanie that she should have consulted with Mrs.
Saddletree on this subject. But, besides the time that must now
necessarily be lost in recurring to her assistance Jeanie internally
revolted from it. Her heart acknowledged the goodness of Mrs.
Saddletree's general character, and the kind interest she took in their
family misfortunes; but still she felt that Mrs. Saddletree was a woman
of an ordinary and worldly way of thinking, incapable, from habit and
temperament, of taking a keen or enthusiastic view of such a resolution
as she had formed; and to debate the point with her, and to rely upon her
conviction of its propriety, for the means of carrying it into execution,
would have been gall and wormwood.

Butler, whose assistance she might have been assured of, was greatly
poorer than herself. In these circumstances, she formed a singular
resolution for the purpose of surmounting this difficulty, the execution
of which will form the subject of the next chapter.



CHAPTER SECOND


          'Tis the voice of the sluggard, I've heard him complain,
          "You have waked me too soon, I must slumber again;"
             As the door on its hinges, so he on his bed,
           Turns his side, and his shoulders, and his heavy head.
                                           Dr. Watts.

The mansion-house of Dumbiedikes, to which we are now to introduce our
readers, lay three or four miles--no matter for the exact topography--to
the southward of St. Leonard's. It had once borne the appearance of some
little celebrity; for the "auld laird," whose humours and pranks were
often mentioned in the ale-houses for about a mile round it, wore a
sword, kept a good horse, and a brace of greyhounds; brawled, swore, and
betted at cock-fights and horse-matches; followed Somerville of Drum's
hawks, and the Lord Ross's hounds, and called himself _point devise_ a
gentleman. But the line had been veiled of its splendour in the present
proprietor, who cared for no rustic amusements, and was as saying, timid,
and retired, as his father had been at once grasping and selfishly
extravagant--daring, wild, and intrusive.

Dumbiedikes was what is called in Scotland a single house; that is,
having only one room occupying its whole depth from back to front, each
of which single apartments was illuminated by six or eight cross lights,
whose diminutive panes and heavy frames permitted scarce so much light to
enter as shines through one well-constructed modern window. This
inartificial edifice, exactly such as a child would build with cards, had
a steep roof flagged with coarse grey stones instead of slates; a
half-circular turret, battlemented, or, to use the appropriate phrase,
bartizan'd on the top, served as a case for a narrow turnpike stair, by
which an ascent was gained from storey to storey; and at the bottom of
the said turret was a door studded with large-headed nails. There was no
lobby at the bottom of the tower, and scarce a landing-place opposite to
the doors which gave access to the apartments. One or two low and
dilapidated outhouses, connected by a courtyard wall equally ruinous,
surrounded the mansion. The court had been paved, but the flags being
partly displaced and partly renewed, a gallant crop of docks and thistles
sprung up between them, and the small garden, which opened by a postern
through the wall, seemed not to be in a much more orderly condition. Over
the low-arched gateway which led into the yard there was a carved stone,
exhibiting some attempt at armorial bearings; and above the inner
entrance hung, and had hung, for many years, the mouldering hatchment,
which announced that umquhile Laurence Dumbie of Dumbiedikes had been
gathered to his fathers in Newbattle kirkyard. The approach to this
palace of pleasure was by a road formed by the rude fragments of stone
gathered from the fields, and it was surrounded by ploughed, but
unenclosed land. Upon a baulk, that is, an unploughed ridge of land
interposed among the corn, the Laird's trusty palfrey was tethered by the
head, and picking a meal of grass. The whole argued neglect and
discomfort; the consequence, however, of idleness and indifference, not
of poverty.

In this inner court, not without a sense of bashfulness and timidity,
stood Jeanie Deans, at an early hour in a fine spring morning. She was no
heroine of romance, and therefore looked with some curiosity and interest
on the mansion-house and domains, of which, it might at that moment occur
to her, a little encouragement, such as women of all ranks know by
instinct how to apply, might have made her mistress. Moreover, she was no
person of taste beyond her time, rank, and country, and certainly thought
the house of Dumbiedikes, though inferior to Holyrood House, or the
palace at Dalkeith, was still a stately structure in its way, and the
land a "very bonny bit, if it were better seen to and done to." But
Jeanie Deans was a plain, true-hearted, honest girl, who, while she
acknowledged all the splendour of her old admirer's habitation, and the
value of his property, never for a moment harboured a thought of doing
the Laird, Butler, or herself, the injustice, which many ladies of higher
rank would not have hesitated to do to all three on much less temptation.

Her present errand being with the Laird, she looked round the offices to
see if she could find any domestic to announce that she wished to see
him. As all was silence, she ventured to open one door--it was the old
Laird's dog-kennel, now deserted, unless when occupied, as one or two
tubs seemed to testify, as a washing-house. She tried another--it was the
rootless shed where the hawks had been once kept, as appeared from a
perch or two not yet completely rotten, and a lure and jesses which were
mouldering on the wall. A third door led to the coal-house, which was
well stocked. To keep a very good fire was one of the few points of
domestic management in which Dumbiedikes was positively active; in all
other matters of domestic economy he was completely passive, and at the
mercy of his housekeeper--the same buxom dame whom his father had long
since bequeathed to his charge, and who, if fame did her no injustice,
had feathered her nest pretty well at his expense.

Jeanie went on opening doors, like the second Calender wanting an eye, in
the castle of the hundred obliging damsels, until, like the said prince
errant, she came to a stable. The Highland Pegasus, Rory Bean, to which
belonged the single entire stall, was her old acquaintance, whom she had
seen grazing on the baulk, as she failed not to recognise by the
well-known ancient riding furniture and demi-pique saddle, which half
hung on the walls, half trailed on the litter. Beyond the "treviss,"
which formed one side of the stall, stood a cow, who turned her head and
lowed when Jeanie came into the stable, an appeal which her habitual
occupations enabled her perfectly to understand, and with which she could
not refuse complying, by shaking down some fodder to the animal, which
had been neglected like most things else in the castle of the sluggard.

While she was accommodating "the milky mother" with the food which she
should have received two hours sooner, a slipshod wench peeped into the
stable, and perceiving that a stranger was employed in discharging the
task which she, at length, and reluctantly, had quitted her slumbers to
perform, ejaculated,

"Eh, sirs! the Brownie! the Brownie!" and fled, yelling as if she had
seen the devil.

To explain her terror it may be necessary to notice that the old house of
Dumbiedikes had, according to report, been long haunted by a Brownie, one
of those familiar spirits who were believed in ancient times to supply
the deficiencies of the ordinary labourer--


Whirl the long mop, and ply the airy flail.

Certes, the convenience of such a supernatural assistance could have been
nowhere more sensibly felt than in a family where the domestics were so
little disposed to personal activity; yet this serving maiden was so far
from rejoicing in seeing a supposed aerial substitute discharging a task
which she should have long since performed herself, that she proceeded to
raise the family by her screams of horror, uttered as thick as if the
Brownie had been flaying her. Jeanie, who had immediately resigned her
temporary occupation, and followed the yelling damsel into the courtyard,
in order to undeceive and appease her, was there met by Mrs. Janet
Balchristie, the favourite sultana of the last Laird, as scandal
went--the housekeeper of the present. The good-looking buxom woman,
betwixt forty and fifty (for such we described her at the death of the
last Laird), was now a fat, red-faced, old dame of seventy, or
thereabouts, fond of her place, and jealous of her authority. Conscious
that her administration did not rest on so sure a basis as in the time
of the old proprietor, this considerate lady had introduced into the
family the screamer aforesaid, who added good features and bright eyes
to the powers of her lungs. She made no conquest of the Laird, however,
who seemed to live as if there was not another woman in the world but
Jeanie Deans, and to bear no very ardent or overbearing affection even
to her. Mrs. Janet Balchristie, notwithstanding, had her own uneasy
thoughts upon the almost daily visits to St. Leonard's Crags, and often,
when the Laird looked at her wistfully and paused, according to his
custom before utterance, she expected him to say, "Jenny, I am gaun to
change my condition;" but she was relieved by, "Jenny, I am gaun to
change my shoon."

Still, however, Mrs. Balchristie regarded Jeanie Deans with no small
portion of malevolence, the customary feeling of such persons towards
anyone who they think has the means of doing them an injury. But she had
also a general aversion to any female tolerably young, and decently
well-looking, who showed a wish to approach the house of Dumbiedikes and
the proprietor thereof. And as she had raised her mass of mortality out
of bed two hours earlier than usual, to come to the rescue of her
clamorous niece, she was in such extreme bad humour against all and
sundry, that Saddletree would have pronounced that she harboured
_inimicitiam contra omnes mortales._

"Wha the deil are ye?" said the fat dame to poor Jeanie, whom she did not
immediately recognise, "scouping about a decent house at sic an hour in
the morning?"

"It was ane wanting to speak to the Laird," said Jeanie, who felt
something of the intuitive terror which she had formerly entertained for
this termagant, when she was occasionally at Dumbiedikes on business of
her father's.

"Ane!--And what sort of ane are ye!--hae ye nae name?--D'ye think his
honour has naething else to do than to speak wi' ilka idle tramper that
comes about the town, and him in his bed yet, honest man?"

"Dear Mrs. Balchristie," replied Jeanie, in a submissive tone, "d'ye no
mind me?--d'ye no mind Jeanie Deans?"

"Jeanie Deans!" said the termagant, in accents affecting the utmost
astonishment; then, taking two strides nearer to her, she peered into her
face with a stare of curiosity, equally scornful and malignant--"I say
Jeanie Deans indeed--Jeanie Deevil, they had better hae ca'ed ye!--A
bonny spot o' wark your tittie and you hae made out, murdering ae puir
wean, and your light limmer of a sister's to be hanged for't, as weel she
deserves!--And the like o' you to come to ony honest man's house, and
want to be into a decent bachelor gentleman's room at this time in the
morning, and him in his bed!--Gae wa', gae wa'!"

Jeanie was struck mute with shame at the unfeeling brutality of this
accusation, and could not even find words to justify herself from the
vile construction put upon her visit. When Mrs. Balchristie, seeing her
advantage, continued in the same tone, "Come, come, bundle up your pipes
and tramp awa wi' ye!--ye may be seeking a father to another wean for ony
thing I ken. If it warna that your father, auld David Deans, had been a
tenant on our land, I would cry up the men-folk, and hae ye dookit in the
burn for your impudence."

Jeanie had already turned her back, and was walking towards the door of
the court-yard, so that Mrs. Balchristie, to make her last threat
impressively audible to her, had raised her stentorian voice to its
utmost pitch. But, like many a general, she lost the engagement by
pressing her advantage too far.

The Laird had been disturbed in his morning slumbers by the tones of Mrs.
Balchristie's objurgation, sounds in themselves by no means uncommon, but
very remarkable, in respect to the early hour at which they were now
heard. He turned himself on the other side, however, in hopes the squall
would blow by, when, in the course of Mrs. Balchristie's second explosion
of wrath, the name of Deans distinctly struck the tympanum of his ear. As
he was, in some degree, aware of the small portion of benevolence with
which his housekeeper regarded the family at St. Leonard's, he instantly
conceived that some message from thence was the cause of this untimely
ire, and getting out of his bed, he slipt as speedily as possible into an
old brocaded night-gown, and some other necessary garments, clapped on
his head his father's gold-laced hat (for though he was seldom seen
without it, yet it is proper to contradict the popular report that he
slept in it, as Don Quixote did in his helmet), and opening the window of
his bedroom, beheld, to his great astonishment, the well-known figure of
Jeanie Deans herself retreating from his gate; while his housekeeper,
with arms a-kimbo, fist clenched and extended, body erect, and head
shaking with rage, sent after her a volley of Billingsgate oaths. His
choler rose in proportion to the surprise, and, perhaps, to the
disturbance of his repose. "Hark ye," he exclaimed from the window, "ye
auld limb of Satan--wha the deil gies you commission to guide an honest
man's daughter that gate?"

Mrs. Balchristie was completely caught in the manner. She was aware, from
the unusual warmth with which the Laird expressed himself, that he was
quite serious in this matter, and she knew, that with all his indolence
of nature, there were points on which he might be provoked, and that,
being provoked, he had in him something dangerous, which her wisdom
taught her to fear accordingly. She began, therefore, to retract her
false step as fast as she could. "She was but speaking for the house's
credit, and she couldna think of disturbing his honour in the morning sae
early, when the young woman might as weel wait or call again; and to be
sure, she might make a mistake between the twa sisters, for ane o' them
wasna sae creditable an acquaintance."

"Haud your peace, ye auld jade," said Dumbiedikes; "the warst quean e'er
stude in their shoon may ca' you cousin, an a' be true that I have
heard.--Jeanie, my woman, gang into the parlour--but stay, that winna be
redd up yet--wait there a minute till I come down to let ye in--Dinna
mind what Jenny says to ye."

"Na, na," said Jenny, with a laugh of affected heartiness, "never mind
me, lass--a' the warld kens my bark's waur than my bite--if ye had had an
appointment wi' the Laird, ye might hae tauld me--I am nae uncivil
person--gang your ways in by, hinny," and she opened the door of the
house with a master-key.

"But I had no appointment wi' the Laird," said Jeanie, drawing back; "I
want just to speak twa words to him, and I wad rather do it standing
here, Mrs. Balchristie."

"In the open court-yard!--Na, na, that wad never do, lass; we mauna guide
ye that gate neither--And how's that douce honest man, your father?"

Jeanie was saved the pain of answering this hypocritical question by the
appearance of the Laird himself.

"Gang in and get breakfast ready," said he to his housekeeper--"and, d'ye
hear, breakfast wi' us yoursell--ye ken how to manage thae porringers of
tea-water--and, hear ye, see abune a' that there's a gude fire.--Weel,
Jeanie, my woman, gang in by--gang in by, and rest ye."

"Na, Laird," Jeanie replied, endeavouring as much as she could to express
herself with composure, notwithstanding she still trembled, "I canna gang
in--I have a lang day's darg afore me--I maun be twenty mile o' gate the
night yet, if feet will carry me."

"Guide and deliver us!--twenty mile--twenty mile on your feet!"
ejaculated Dumbiedikes, whose walks were of a very circumscribed
diameter,--"Ye maun never think o' that--come in by."

"I canna do that, Laird," replied Jeanie; "the twa words I have to say to
ye I can say here; forby that Mrs. Balchristie."

"The deil flee awa wi' Mrs. Balchristie," said Dumbiedikes, "and he'll
hae a heavy lading o' her! I tell ye, Jeanie Deans, I am a man of few
words, but I am laird at hame, as well as in the field; deil a brute or
body about my house but I can manage when I like, except Rory Bean, my
powny; but I can seldom be at the plague, an it binna when my bluid's
up."

"I was wanting to say to ye, Laird," said Jeanie, who felt the necessity
of entering upon her business, "that I was gaun a lang journey, outby of
my father's knowledge."

"Outby his knowledge, Jeanie!--Is that right? Ye maun think ot
again--it's no right," said Dumbiedikes, with a countenance of great
concern.

"If I were ance at Lunnon," said Jeanie, in exculpation, "I am amaist
sure I could get means to speak to the queen about my sister's life."

"Lunnon--and the queen--and her sister's life!" said Dumbiedikes,
whistling for very amazement--"the lassie's demented."

"I am no out o' my mind," said she, "and sink or swim, I am determined to
gang to Lunnon, if I suld beg my way frae door to door--and so I maun,
unless ye wad lend me a small sum to pay my expenses--little thing will
do it; and ye ken my father's a man of substance, and wad see nae man,
far less you, Laird, come to loss by me."

Dumbiedikes, on comprehending the nature of this application, could
scarce trust his ears--he made no answer whatever, but stood with his
eyes rivetted on the ground.

"I see ye are no for assisting me, Laird," said Jeanie, "sae fare ye
weel--and gang and see my poor father as aften as ye can--he will be
lonely eneugh now."

"Where is the silly bairn gaun?" said Dumbiedikes; and, laying hold of
her hand, he led her into the house. "It's no that I didna think o't
before," he said, "but it stack in my throat."

Thus speaking to himself, he led her into an old-fashioned parlour, shut
the door behind them, and fastened it with a bolt. While Jeanie,
surprised at this manoeuvre, remained as near the door as possible, the
Laird quitted her hand, and pressed upon a spring lock fixed in an oak
panel in the wainscot, which instantly slipped aside. An iron strong-box
was discovered in a recess of the wall; he opened this also, and pulling
out two or three drawers, showed that they were filled with leathern bags
full of gold and silver coin.

"This is my bank, Jeanie lass," he said, looking first at her and then at
the treasure, with an air of great complacency,--"nane o' your
goldsmith's bills for me,--they bring folk to ruin."

Then, suddenly changing his tone, he resolutely said,--"Jeanie, I will
make ye Lady Dumbiedikes afore the sun sets and ye may ride to Lunnon in
your ain coach, if ye like."

"Na, Laird," said Jeanie, "that can never be--my father's grief--my
sister's situation--the discredit to you--"

"That's _my_ business," said Dumbiedikes; "ye wad say naething about that
if ye werena a fule--and yet I like ye the better for't--ae wise body's
eneugh in the married state. But if your heart's ower fu', take what
siller will serve ye, and let it be when ye come back again--as gude syne
as sune."

"But, Laird," said Jeanie, who felt the necessity of being explicit with
so extraordinary a lover, "I like another man better than you, and I
canna marry ye."

"Another man better than me, Jeanie!" said Dumbiedikes; "how is that
possible? It's no possible, woman--ye hae ken'd me sae lang."

"Ay but, Laird," said Jeanie, with persevering simplicity, "I hae ken'd
him langer."

"Langer! It's no possible!" exclaimed the poor Laird. "It canna be; ye
were born on the land. O Jeanie woman, ye haena lookit--ye haena seen the
half o' the gear." He drew out another drawer--"A' gowd, Jeanie, and
there's bands for siller lent--And the rental book, Jeanie--clear three
hunder sterling--deil a wadset, heritable band, or burden--Ye haena
lookit at them, woman--And then my mother's wardrobe, and my
grandmother's forby--silk gowns wad stand on their ends, their
pearline-lace as fine as spiders' webs, and rings and ear-rings to the
boot of a' that--they are a' in the chamber of deas--Oh, Jeanie, gang up
the stair and look at them!"


[Illustration: Jeanie and the Laird of Dumbiedykes--Frontispiece]


But Jeanie held fast her integrity, though beset with temptations, which
perhaps the Laird of Dumbiedikes did not greatly err in supposing were
those most affecting to her sex.

"It canna be, Laird--I have said it--and I canna break my word till him,
if ye wad gie me the haill barony of Dalkeith, and Lugton into the
bargain."

"Your word to _him,_" said the Laird, somewhat pettishly; "but wha is he,
Jeanie?--wha is he?--I haena heard his name yet--Come now, Jeanie, ye are
but queering us--I am no trowing that there is sic a ane in the warld--ye
are but making fashion--What is he?--wha is he?"

"Just Reuben Butler, that's schulemaster at Liberton," said Jeanie.

"Reuben Butler! Reuben Butler!" echoed the Laird of Dumbiedikes, pacing
the apartment in high disdain,--"Reuben Butler, the dominie at
Liberton--and a dominie depute too!--Reuben, the son of my cottar!--Very
weel, Jeanie lass, wilfu' woman will hae her way--Reuben Butler! he
hasna in his pouch the value o' the auld black coat he wears--But it
disna signify." And as he spoke, he shut successively and with vehemence
the drawers of his treasury. "A fair offer, Jeanie, is nae cause of
feud--Ae man may bring a horse to the water, but twenty winna gar him
drink--And as for wasting my substance on other folk's joes--"

There was something in the last hint that nettled Jeanie's honest pride.--
"I was begging nane frae your honour," she said; "least of a' on sic a
score as ye pit it on.--Gude morning to ye, sir; ye hae been kind to my
father, and it isna in my heart to think otherwise than kindly of you."

So saying, she left the room without listening to a faint "But,
Jeanie--Jeanie--stay, woman!" and traversing the courtyard with a quick
step, she set out on her forward journey, her bosom glowing with that
natural indignation and shame, which an honest mind feels at having
subjected itself to ask a favour, which had been unexpectedly refused.
When out of the Laird's ground, and once more upon the public road, her
pace slackened, her anger cooled, and anxious anticipations of the
consequence of this unexpected disappointment began to influence her
with other feelings. Must she then actually beg her way to London? for
such seemed the alternative; or must she turn back, and solicit her
father for money? and by doing so lose time, which was precious, besides
the risk of encountering his positive prohibition respecting the
journey! Yet she saw no medium between these alternatives; and, while
she walked slowly on, was still meditating whether it were not better to
return.

While she was thus in an uncertainty, she heard the clatter of a horse's
hoofs, and a well-known voice calling her name. She looked round, and saw
advancing towards her on a pony, whose bare back and halter assorted ill
with the nightgown, slippers, and laced cocked-hat of the rider, a
cavalier of no less importance than Dumbiedikes himself. In the energy of
his pursuit, he had overcome even the Highland obstinacy of Rory Bean,
and compelled that self-willed palfrey to canter the way his rider chose;
which Rory, however, performed with all the symptoms of reluctance,
turning his head, and accompanying every bound he made in advance with a
sidelong motion, which indicated his extreme wish to turn round,--a
manoeuvre which nothing but the constant exercise of the Laird's heels
and cudgel could possibly have counteracted.

When the Laird came up with Jeanie, the first words he uttered
were,--"Jeanie, they say ane shouldna aye take a woman at her first
word?"

"Ay, but ye maun take me at mine, Laird," said Jeanie, looking on the
ground, and walking on without a pause.--"I hae but ae word to bestow on
ony body, and that's aye a true ane."

"Then," said Dumbiedikes, "at least ye suldna aye take a man at _his_
first word. Ye maunna gang this wilfu' gate sillerless, come o't what
like."--He put a purse into her hand. "I wad gie you Rory too, but he's
as wilfu' as yoursell, and he's ower weel used to a gate that maybe he
and I hae gaen ower aften, and he'll gang nae road else."

"But, Laird," said Jeanie, "though I ken my father will satisfy every
penny of this siller, whatever there's o't, yet I wadna like to borrow it
frae ane that maybe thinks of something mair than the paying o't back
again."

"There's just twenty-five guineas o't," said Dumbiedikes, with a gentle
sigh, "and whether your father pays or disna pay, I make ye free till't
without another word. Gang where ye like--do what ye like--and marry a'
the Butlers in the country gin ye like--And sae, gude morning to you,
Jeanie."

"And God bless you, Laird, wi' mony a gude morning!" said Jeanie, her
heart more softened by the unwonted generosity of this uncouth character,
than perhaps Butler might have approved, had he known her feelings at
that moment; "and comfort, and the Lord's peace, and the peace of the
world, be with you, if we suld never meet again!"

Dumbiedikes turned and waved his hand; and his pony, much more willing to
return than he had been to set out, hurried him homeward so fast, that,
wanting the aid of a regular bridle, as well as of saddle and stirrups,
he was too much puzzled to keep his seat to permit of his looking behind,
even to give the parting glance of a forlorn swain. I am ashamed to say,
that the sight of a lover, ran away with in nightgown and slippers and a
laced hat, by a bare-backed Highland pony, had something in it of a
sedative, even to a grateful and deserved burst of affectionate esteem.
The figure of Dumbiedikes was too ludicrous not to confirm Jeanie in the
original sentiments she entertained towards him.

"He's a gude creature," said she, "and a kind--it's a pity he has sae
willyard a powny." And she immediately turned her thoughts to the
important journey which she had commenced, reflecting with pleasure,
that, according to her habits of life and of undergoing fatigue, she was
now amply or even superfluously provided with the means of encountering
the expenses of the road, up and down from London, and all other expenses
whatever.



CHAPTER THIRD

                     What strange and wayward thoughts will slide
                         Into a lover's head;
                     "O mercy!" to myself I cried,
                        "If Lucy should be dead!"
                                              Wordsworth.

In pursuing her solitary journey, our heroine, soon after passing the
house of Dumbiedikes, gained a little eminence, from which, on looking to
the eastward down a prattling brook, whose meanders were shaded with
straggling widows and alder trees, she could see the cottages of Woodend
and Beersheba, the haunts and habitation of her early life, and could
distinguish the common on which she had so often herded sheep, and the
recesses of the rivulet where she had pulled rushes with Butler, to plait
crowns and sceptres for her sister Effie, then a beautiful but spoiled
child, of about three years old. The recollections which the scene
brought with them were so bitter, that, had she indulged them, she would
have sate down and relieved her heart with tears.

"But I ken'd," said Jeanie, when she gave an account of her pilgrimage,
"that greeting would do but little good, and that it was mair beseeming
to thank the Lord, that had showed me kindness and countenance by means
of a man, that mony ca'd a Nabal, and churl, but wha was free of his
gudes to me, as ever the fountain was free of the stream. And I minded
the Scripture about the sin of Israel at Meribah, when the people
murmured, although Moses had brought water from the dry rock that the
congregation might drink and live. Sae, I wad not trust mysell with
another look at puir Woodend, for the very blue reek that came out of the
lum-head pat me in mind of the change of market days with us."

In this resigned and Christian temper she pursued her journey until she
was beyond this place of melancholy recollections, and not distant from
the village where Butler dwelt, which, with its old-fashioned church and
steeple, rises among a tuft of trees, occupying the ridge of an eminence
to the south of Edinburgh. At a quarter of a mile's distance is a clumsy
square tower, the residence of the Laird of Liberton, who, in former
times, with the habits of the predatory chivalry of Germany, is said
frequently to have annoyed the city of Edinburgh, by intercepting the
supplies and merchandise which came to the town from the southward.

This village, its tower, and its church, did not lie precisely in
Jeanie's road towards England; but they were not much aside from it, and
the village was the abode of Butler. She had resolved to see him in the
beginning of her journey, because she conceived him the most proper
person to write to her father concerning her resolution and her hopes.
There was probably another reason latent in her affectionate bosom. She
wished once more to see the object of so early and so sincere an
attachment, before commencing a pilgrimage, the perils of which she did
not disguise from herself, although she did not allow them so to press
upon her mind as to diminish the strength and energy of her resolution. A
visit to a lover from a young person in a higher rank of life than
Jeanie's, would have had something forward and improper in its character.
But the simplicity of her rural habits was unacquainted with these
punctilious ideas of decorum, and no notion, therefore, of impropriety
crossed her imagination, as, setting out upon a long journey, she went to
bid adieu to an early friend.

There was still another motive that pressed upon her mind with additional
force as she approached the village. She had looked anxiously for Butler
in the courthouse, and had expected that, certainly, in some part of that
eventful day, he would have appeared to bring such countenance and
support as he could give to his old friend, and the protector of his
youth, even if her own claims were laid aside.

She know, indeed, that he was under a certain degree of restraint; but
she still had hoped that he would have found means to emancipate himself
from it, at least for one day. In short, the wild and wayward thoughts
which Wordsworth has described as rising in an absent lover's
imagination, suggested, as the only explanation of his absence, that
Butler must be very ill. And so much had this wrought on her imagination,
that when she approached the cottage where her lover occupied a small
apartment, and which had been pointed out to her by a maiden with a
milk-pail on her head, she trembled at anticipating the answer she might
receive on inquiring for him.

Her fears in this case had, indeed, only hit upon the truth. Butler,
whose constitution was naturally feeble, did not soon recover the fatigue
of body and distress of mind which he had suffered, in consequence of the
tragical events with which our narrative commenced. The painful idea that
his character was breathed on by suspicion, was an aggravation to his
distress.

But the most cruel addition was the absolute prohibition laid by the
magistrates on his holding any communication with Deans or his family. It
had unfortunately appeared likely to them, that some intercourse might be
again attempted with that family by Robertson, through the medium of
Butler, and this they were anxious to intercept, or prevent if possible.
The measure was not meant as a harsh or injurious severity on the part of
the magistrates; but, in Butler's circumstances, it pressed cruelly hard.
He felt he must be suffering under the bad opinion of the person who was
dearest to him, from an imputation of unkind desertion, the most alien to
his nature.

This painful thought, pressing on a frame already injured, brought on a
succession of slow and lingering feverish attacks, which greatly impaired
his health, and at length rendered him incapable even of the sedentary
duties of the school, on which his bread depended. Fortunately, old Mr.
Whackbairn, who was the principal teacher of the little parochial
establishment, was sincerely attached to Butler. Besides that he was
sensible of his merits and value as an assistant, which had greatly
raised the credit of his little school, the ancient pedagogue, who had
himself been tolerably educated, retained some taste for classical lore,
and would gladly relax, after the drudgery of the school was over, by
conning over a few pages of Horace or Juvenal with his usher. A
similarity of taste begot kindness, and accordingly he saw Butler's
increasing debility with great compassion, roused up his own energies to
teaching the school in the morning hours, insisted upon his assistant's
reposing himself at that period, and, besides, supplied him with such
comforts as the patient's situation required, and his own means were
inadequate to compass.

Such was Butler's situation, scarce able to drag himself to the place
where his daily drudgery must gain his daily bread, and racked with a
thousand fearful anticipations concerning the fate of those who were
dearest to him in the world, when the trial and condemnation of Effie
Deans put the copestone upon his mental misery.

He had a particular account of these events, from a fellow-student who
resided in the same village, and who, having been present on the
melancholy occasion, was able to place it in all its agony of horrors
before his excruciated imagination. That sleep should have visited his
eyes after such a curfew-note, was impossible. A thousand dreadful
visions haunted his imagination all night, and in the morning he was
awaked from a feverish slumber, by the only circumstance which could have
added to his distress,--the visit of an intrusive ass.

This unwelcome visitant was no other than Bartoline Saddletree. The
worthy and sapient burgher had kept his appointment at MacCroskie's with
Plumdamas and some other neighbours, to discuss the Duke of Argyle's
speech, the justice of Effie Deans's condemnation, and the improbability
of her obtaining a reprieve. This sage conclave disputed high and drank
deep, and on the next morning Bartoline felt, as he expressed it, as if
his head was like a "confused progress of writs."

To bring his reflective powers to their usual serenity, Saddle-tree
resolved to take a morning's ride upon a certain hackney, which he,
Plumdamas, and another honest shopkeeper, combined to maintain by joint
subscription, for occasional jaunts for the purpose of business or
exercise. As Saddletree had two children boarded with Whackbairn, and
was, as we have seen, rather fond of Butler's society, he turned his
palfrey's head towards Liberton, and came, as we have already said, to
give the unfortunate usher that additional vexation, of which Imogene
complains so feelingly, when she says,--

                      "I'm sprighted with a fool--
                     Sprighted and anger'd worse."

If anything could have added gall to bitterness, it was the choice which
Saddletree made of a subject for his prosing harangues, being the trial
of Effie Deans, and the probability of her being executed. Every word
fell on Butler's ear like the knell of a death-bell, or the note of a
screech-owl.

Jeanie paused at the door of her lover's humble abode upon hearing the
loud and pompous tones of Saddletree sounding from the inner apartment,
"Credit me, it will be sae, Mr. Butler. Brandy cannot save her. She maun
gang down the Bow wi' the lad in the pioted coat* at her heels.--

* The executioner, in livery of black or dark grey and silver, likened by
low wit to a magpie.

I am sorry for the lassie, but the law, sir, maun hae its course--

                              Vivat Rex,
                              Currat Lex,

as the poet has it, in whilk of Horace's odes I know not."

Here Butler groaned, in utter impatience of the brutality and ignorance
which Bartoline had contrived to amalgamate into one sentence. But
Saddletree, like other prosers, was blessed with a happy obtuseness of
perception concerning the unfavourable impression which he sometimes made
on his auditors. He proceeded to deal forth his scraps of legal knowledge
without mercy, and concluded by asking Butler, with great
self-complacency, "Was it na a pity my father didna send me to Utrecht?
Havena I missed the chance to turn out as _clarissimus_ an _ictus,_ as
auld Grunwiggin himself?--Whatfor dinna ye speak, Mr. Butler? Wad I no
hae been a _clarissimus ictus?_--Eh, man?"

"I really do not understand you, Mr. Saddletree," said Butler, thus
pushed hard for an answer. His faint and exhausted tone of voice was
instantly drowned in the sonorous bray of Bartoline.

"No understand me, man? _Ictus_ is Latin for a lawyer, is it not?"

"Not that ever I heard of," answered Butler in the same dejected tone.

"The deil ye didna!--See, man, I got the word but this morning out of a
memorial of Mr. Crossmyloof's--see, there it is, _ictus clarissimus et
perti--peritissimus_--it's a' Latin, for it's printed in the Italian
types."

"O, you mean _juris-consultus--Ictus_ is an abbreviation for
_juris-consultus._"

"Dinna tell me, man," persevered Saddletree, "there's nae abbreviates
except in adjudications; and this is a' about a servitude of
water-drap--that is to say, _tillicidian_* (maybe ye'll say that's no
Latin neither), in Mary King's Close in the High Street."

* He meant, probably, _stillicidium._

"Very likely," said poor Butler, overwhelmed by the noisy perseverance of
his visitor. "Iam not able to dispute with you."

"Few folk are--few folk are, Mr. Butler, though I say it that shouldna
say it," returned Bartoline with great delight. "Now, it will be twa
hours yet or ye're wanted in the schule, and as ye are no weel, I'll sit
wi' you to divert ye, and explain t'ye the nature of a _tillicidian._ Ye
maun ken, the petitioner, Mrs. Crombie, a very decent woman, is a friend
of mine, and I hae stude her friend in this case, and brought her wi'
credit into the court, and I doubtna that in due time she will win out
o't wi' credit, win she or lose she. Ye see, being an inferior tenement
or laigh house, we grant ourselves to be burdened wi' the _tillicide,_
that is, that we are obligated to receive the natural water-drap of the
superior tenement, sae far as the same fa's frae the heavens, or the roof
of our neighbour's house, and from thence by the gutters or eaves upon
our laigh tenement. But the other night comes a Highland quean of a lass,
and she flashes, God kens what, out at the eastmost window of Mrs.
MacPhail's house, that's the superior tenement. I believe the auld women
wad hae agreed, for Luckie MacPhail sent down the lass to tell my friend
Mrs. Crombie that she had made the gardyloo out of the wrang window, out
of respect for twa Highlandmen that were speaking Gaelic in the close
below the right ane. But luckily for Mrs. Crombie, I just chanced to come
in in time to break aff the communing, for it's a pity the point suldna
be tried. We had Mrs. MacPhail into the Ten-Mark Court--The Hieland
limmer of a lass wanted to swear herself free--but haud ye there,
says I."

The detailed account of this important suit might have lasted until poor
Butler's hour of rest was completely exhausted, had not Saddletree been
interrupted by the noise of voices at the door. The woman of the house
where Butler lodged, on returning with her pitcher from the well, whence
she had been fetching water for the family, found our heroine Jeanie
Deans standing at the door, impatient of the prolix harangue of
Saddletree, yet unwilling to enter until he should have taken his leave.

The good woman abridged the period of hesitation by inquiring, "Was ye
wanting the gudeman or me, lass?"

"I wanted to speak with Mr. Butler, if he's at leisure," replied Jeanie.

"Gang in by then, my woman," answered the goodwife; and opening the door
of a room, she announced the additional visitor with, "Mr. Butler, here's
a lass wants to speak t'ye."

The surprise of Butler was extreme, when Jeanie, who seldom stirred
half-a-mile from home, entered his apartment upon this annunciation.

"Good God!" he said, starting from his chair, while alarm restored to his
cheek the colour of which sickness had deprived it; "some new misfortune
must have happened!"

"None, Mr. Reuben, but what you must hae heard of--but oh, ye are looking
ill yoursell!"--for the "hectic of a moment" had not concealed from her
affectionate eyes the ravages which lingering disease and anxiety of mind
had made in her lover's person.

"No: I am well--quite well," said Butler with eagerness; "if I can do
anything to assist you, Jeanie--or your father."

"Ay, to be sure," said Saddletree; "the family may be considered as
limited to them twa now, just as if Effie had never been in the tailzie,
puir thing. But, Jeanie lass, what brings you out to Liberton sae air in
the morning, and your father lying ill in the Luckenbooths?"

"I had a message frae my father to Mr. Butler," said Jeanie with
embarrassment; but instantly feeling ashamed of the fiction to which she
had resorted, for her love of and veneration for truth was almost
Quaker-like, she corrected herself--"That is to say, I wanted to speak
with Mr. Butler about some business of my father's and puir Effie's."

"Is it law business?" said Bartoline; "because if it be, ye had better
take my opinion on the subject than his."

"It is not just law business," said Jeanie, who saw considerable
inconvenience might arise from letting Mr. Saddletree into the secret
purpose of her journey; "but I want Mr. Butler to write a letter for me."

"Very right," said Mr. Saddletree; "and if ye'll tell me what it is
about, I'll dictate to Mr. Butler as Mr. Crossmyloof does to his
clerk.--Get your pen and ink in initialibus, Mr. Butler."

Jeanie looked at Butler, and wrung her hands with vexation and
impatience.

"I believe, Mr. Saddletree," said Butler, who saw the necessity of
getting rid of him at all events, "that Mr. Whackbairn will be somewhat
affronted if you do not hear your boys called up to their lessons."

"Indeed, Mr. Butler, and that's as true; and I promised to ask a half
play-day to the schule, so that the bairns might gang and see the
hanging, which canna but have a pleasing effect on their young minds,
seeing there is no knowing what they may come to themselves.--Odd so, I
didna mind ye were here, Jeanie Deans; but ye maun use yoursell to hear
the matter spoken o'.--Keep Jeanie here till I come back, Mr. Butler; I
winna bide ten minutes."

And with this unwelcome assurance of an immediate return, he relieved
them of the embarrassment of his presence.

"Reuben," said Jeanie, who saw the necessity of using the interval of his
absence in discussing what had brought her there, "I am bound on a lang
journey--I am gaun to Lunnon to ask Effie's life of the king and of the
queen."

"Jeanie! you are surely not yourself," answered Butler, in the utmost
surprise;--"_you_ go to London--_you_ address the king and queen!"

"And what for no, Reuben?" said Jeanie, with all the composed simplicity
of her character; "it's but speaking to a mortal man and woman when a' is
done. And their hearts maun be made o' flesh and blood like other folk's,
and Effie's story wad melt them were they stane. Forby, I hae heard that
they are no sic bad folk as what the Jacobites ca' them."

"Yes, Jeanie," said Butler; "but their magnificence--their retinue--the
difficulty of getting audience?"

"I have thought of a' that, Reuben, and it shall not break my spirit. Nae
doubt their claiths will be very grand, wi' their crowns on their heads,
and their sceptres in their hands, like the great King Ahasuerus when he
sate upon his royal throne fornent the gate of his house, as we are told
in Scripture. But I have that within me that will keep my heart from
failing, and I am amaist sure that I will be strengthened to speak the
errand I came for."

"Alas! alas!" said Butler, "the kings now-a-days do not sit in the gate
to administer justice, as in patriarchal times. I know as little of
courts as you do, Jeanie, by experience; but by reading and report I
know, that the King of Britain does everything by means of his
ministers."

"And if they be upright, God-fearing ministers," said Jeanie, "it's sae
muckle the better chance for Effie and me."

"But you do not even understand the most ordinary words relating to a
court," said Butler; "by the ministry is meant not clergymen, but the
king's official servants."

"Nae doubt," returned Jeanie, "he maun hae a great number mair, I daur to
say, than the duchess has at Dalkeith, and great folk's servants are aye
mair saucy than themselves. But I'll be decently put on, and I'll offer
them a trifle o' siller, as if I came to see the palace. Or, if they
scruple that, I'll tell them I'm come on a business of life and death,
and then they will surely bring me to speech of the king and queen?"

Butler shook his head. "O Jeanie, this is entirely a wild dream. You can
never see them but through some great lord's intercession, and I think it
is scarce possible even then."

"Weel, but maybe I can get that too," said Jeanie, "with a little helping
from you."

"From me, Jeanie! this is the wildest imagination of all."

"Ay, but it is not, Reuben. Havena I heard you say, that your grandfather
(that my father never likes to hear about) did some gude langsyne to the
forbear of this MacCallummore, when he was Lord of Lorn?"

"He did so," said Butler, eagerly, "and I can prove it.--I will write to
the Duke of Argyle--report speaks him a good kindly man, as he is known
for a brave soldier and true patriot--I will conjure him to stand between
your sister and this cruel fate. There is but a poor chance of success,
but we will try all means."

"We _must_ try all means," replied Jeanie; "but writing winna do it--a
letter canna look, and pray, and beg, and beseech, as the human voice can
do to the human heart. A letter's like the music that the ladies have for
their spinets--naething but black scores, compared to the same tune
played or sung. It's word of mouth maun do it, or naething, Reuben."

"You are right," said Reuben, recollecting his firmness, "and I will hope
that Heaven has suggested to your kind heart and firm courage the only
possible means of saving the life of this unfortunate girl. But, Jeanie,
you must not take this most perilous journey alone; I have an interest in
you, and I will not agree that my Jeanie throws herself away. You must
even, in the present circumstances, give me a husband's right to protect
you, and I will go with you myself on this journey, and assist you to do
your duty by your family."

"Alas, Reuben!" said Jeanie in her turn, "this must not be; a pardon will
not gie my sister her fair fame again, or make me a bride fitting for an
honest man and an usefu' minister. Wha wad mind what he said in the
pu'pit, that had to wife the sister of a woman that was condemned for sic
wickedness?"

"But, Jeanie," pleaded her lover, "I do not believe, and I cannot
believe, that Effie has done this deed."

"Heaven bless ye for saying sae, Reuben," answered Jeanie; "but she maun
bear the blame o't after all."

"But the blame, were it even justly laid on her, does not fall on you."

"Ah, Reuben, Reuben," replied the young woman, "ye ken it is a blot that
spreads to kith and kin.--Ichabod--as my poor father says--the glory is
departed from our house; for the poorest man's house has a glory, where
there are true hands, a divine heart, and an honest fame--And the last
has gane frae us a."

"But, Jeanie, consider your word and plighted faith to me; and would you
undertake such a journey without a man to protect you?--and who should
that protector be but your husband?"

"You are kind and good, Reuben, and wad take me wi' a' my shame, I
doubtna. But ye canna but own that this is no time to marry or be given
in marriage. Na, if that suld ever be, it maun be in another and a better
season.--And, dear Reuben, ye speak of protecting me on my journey--Alas!
who will protect and take care of you?--your very limbs tremble with
standing for ten minutes on the floor; how could you undertake a journey
as far as Lunnon?"

"But I am strong--I am well," continued Butler, sinking in his seat
totally exhausted, "at least I shall be quite well to-morrow."

"Ye see, and ye ken, ye maun just let me depart," said Jeanie, after a
pause; and then taking his extended hand, and gazing kindly in his face,
she added, "It's e'en a grief the mair to me to see you in this way. But
ye maun keep up your heart for Jeanie's sake, for if she isna your wife,
she will never be the wife of living man. And now gie me the paper for
MacCallummore, and bid God speed me on my way."

There was something of romance in Jeanie's venturous resolution; yet, on
consideration, as it seemed impossible to alter it by persuasion, or to
give her assistance but by advice, Butler, after some farther debate, put
into her hands the paper she desired, which, with the muster-roll in
which it was folded up, were the sole memorials of the stout and
enthusiastic Bible Butler, his grandfather. While Butler sought this
document, Jeanie had time to take up his pocket Bible. "I have marked a
scripture," she said, as she again laid it down, "with your kylevine pen,
that will be useful to us baith. And ye maun tak the trouble, Reuben, to
write a' this to my father, for, God help me, I have neither head nor
hand for lang letters at ony time, forby now; and I trust him entirely to
you, and I trust you will soon be permitted to see him. And, Reuben, when
ye do win to the speech o' him, mind a' the auld man's bits o' ways, for
Jeanie's sake; and dinna speak o' Latin or English terms to him, for he's
o' the auld warld, and downa bide to be fashed wi' them, though I daresay
he may be wrang. And dinna ye say muckle to him, but set him on speaking
himself, for he'll bring himsell mair comfort that way. And O, Reuben,
the poor lassie in yon dungeon!--but I needna bid your kind heart--gie
her what comfort ye can as soon as they will let ye see her--tell
her--But I maunna speak mair about her, for I maunna take leave o' ye
wi' the tear in my ee, for that wouldna be canny.--God bless ye, Reuben!"

To avoid so ill an omen she left the room hastily, while her features yet
retained the mournful and affectionate smile which she had compelled them
to wear, in order to support Butler's spirits.

It seemed as if the power of sight, of speech, and of reflection, had
left him as she disappeared from the room, which she had entered and
retired from so like an apparition. Saddletree, who entered immediately
afterwards, overwhelmed him with questions, which he answered without
understanding them, and with legal disquisitions, which conveyed to him
no iota of meaning. At length the learned burgess recollected that there
was a Baron Court to be, held at Loanhead that day, and though it was
hardly worth while, "he might as weel go to see if there was onything
doing, as he was acquainted with the baron bailie, who was a decent man,
and would be glad of a word of legal advice."

So soon as he departed, Butler flew to the Bible, the last book which
Jeanie had touched. To his extreme surprise, a paper, containing two or
three pieces of gold, dropped from the book. With a black-lead pencil,
she had marked the sixteenth and twenty-fifth verses of the
thirty-seventh Psalm,--"A little that a righteous man hath, is better
than the riches of the wicked."--"I have been young and am now old, yet
have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging their
bread."

Deeply impressed with the affectionate delicacy which shrouded its own
generosity under the cover of a providential supply to his wants, he
pressed the gold to his lips with more ardour than ever the metal was
greeted with by a miser. To emulate her devout firmness and confidence
seemed now the pitch of his ambition, and his first task was to write an
account to David Deans of his daughter's resolution and journey
southward. He studied every sentiment, and even every phrase, which he
thought could reconcile the old man to her extraordinary resolution. The
effect which this epistle produced will be hereafter adverted to. Butler
committed it to the charge of an honest clown, who had frequent dealings
with Deans in the sale of his dairy produce, and who readily undertook a
journey to Edinburgh to put the letter into his own hands.*

* By dint of assiduous research I am enabled to certiorate the reader,
that the name of this person was Saunders Broadfoot, and that he dealt in
the wholesome commodity called kirn-milk (_Anglice',_ butter-milk).--
J. C.



CHAPTER FOURTH.



                     "My native land, good night."
                                      Lord Byron.

In the present day, a journey from Edinburgh to London is a matter at
once safe, brief, and simple, however inexperienced or unprotected the
traveller. Numerous coaches of different rates of charge, and as many
packets, are perpetually passing and repassing betwixt the capital of
Britain and her northern sister, so that the most timid or indolent may
execute such a journey upon a few hours' notice. But it was different in
1737. So slight and infrequent was the intercourse betwixt London and
Edinburgh, that men still alive remember that upon one occasion the mail
from the former city arrived at the General Post-Office in Scotland with
only one letter in it.*

* The fact is certain. The single epistle was addressed to the principal
director of the British Linen Company.

The usual mode of travelling was by means of post-horses, the traveller
occupying one, and his guide another, in which manner, by relays of
horses from stage to stage, the journey might be accomplished in a
wonderfully short time by those who could endure fatigue. To have the
bones shaken to pieces by a constant change of those hacks was a luxury
for the rich--the poor were under the necessity of using the mode of
conveyance with which nature had provided them.

With a strong heart, and a frame patient of fatigue, Jeanie Deans,
travelling at the rate of twenty miles a-day, and sometimes farther,
traversed the southern part of Scotland, and advanced as far as Durham.

Hitherto she had been either among her own country-folk, or those to whom
her bare feet and tartan screen were objects too familiar to attract much
attention. But as she advanced, she perceived that both circumstances
exposed her to sarcasm and taunts, which she might otherwise have
escaped; and although in her heart she thought it unkind, and
inhospitable, to sneer at a passing stranger on account of the fashion of
her attire, yet she had the good sense to alter those parts of her dress
which attracted ill-natured observation. Her chequed screen was deposited
carefully in her bundle, and she conformed to the national extravagance
of wearing shoes and stockings for the whole day. She confessed
afterwards, that, "besides the wastrife, it was lang or she could walk
sae comfortably with the shoes as without them; but there was often a bit
saft heather by the road-side, and that helped her weel on." The want of
the screen, which was drawn over the head like a veil, she supplied by a
_bon-grace,_ as she called it; a large straw bonnet like those worn by
the English maidens when labouring in the fields. "But I thought unco
shame o' mysell," she said, "the first time I put on a married woman's
_bon-grace,_ and me a single maiden."

With these changes she had little, as she said, to make "her kenspeckle
when she didna speak," but her accent and language drew down on her so
many jests and gibes, couched in a worse _patois_ by far than her own,
that she soon found it was her interest to talk as little and as seldom
as possible. She answered, therefore, civil salutations of chance
passengers with a civil courtesy, and chose, with anxious circumspection,
such places of repose as looked at once most decent and sequestered. She
found the common people of England, although inferior in courtesy to
strangers, such as was then practised in her own more unfrequented
country, yet, upon the whole, by no means deficient in the real duties of
hospitality. She readily obtained food, and shelter, and protection at a
very moderate rate, which sometimes the generosity of mine host
altogether declined, with a blunt apology,--"Thee hast a long way afore
thee, lass; and I'se ne'er take penny out o' a single woman's purse; it's
the best friend thou can have on the road."

It often happened, too, that mine hostess was struck with "the tidy, nice
Scotch body," and procured her an escort, or a cast in a waggon, for some
part of the way, or gave her a useful advice and recommendation
respecting her resting-places.

At York our pilgrim stopped for the best part of a day, partly to recruit
her strength,--partly because she had the good luck to obtain a lodging
in an inn kept by a countrywoman,--partly to indite two letters to her
father and Reuben Butler; an operation of some little difficulty, her
habits being by no means those of literary composition. That to her
father was in the following words.--

"Dearest Father,--I make my present pilgrimage more heavy and burdensome,
through the sad occasion to reflect that it is without your knowledge,
which, God knows, was far contrary to my heart; for Scripture says, that
'the vow of the daughter should not be binding without the consent of the
father,' wherein it may be I have been guilty to tak this wearie journey
without your consent. Nevertheless, it was borne in upon my mind that I
should be an instrument to help my poor sister in this extremity of
needcessity, otherwise I wad not, for wealth or for world's gear, or for
the haill lands of Da'keith and Lugton, have done the like o' this,
without your free will and knowledge. Oh, dear father, as ye wad desire a
blessing on my journey, and upon your household, speak a word or write a
line of comfort to yon poor prisoner. If she has sinned, she has sorrowed
and suffered, and ye ken better than me, that we maun forgie others, as
we pray to be forgien. Dear father, forgive my saying this muckle, for it
doth not become a young head to instruct grey hairs; but I am sae far
frae ye, that my heart yearns to ye a', and fain wad I hear that ye had
forgien her trespass, and sae I nae doubt say mair than may become me.
The folk here are civil, and, like the barbarians unto the holy apostle,
hae shown me much kindness; and there are a sort of chosen people in the
land, for they hae some kirks without organs that are like ours, and are
called meeting-houses, where the minister preaches without a gown. But
most of the country are prelatists, whilk is awfu' to think; and I saw
twa men that were ministers following hunds, as bauld as Roslin or
Driden, the young Laird of Loup-the-dike, or ony wild gallant in Lothian.
A sorrowfa' sight to behold! Oh, dear father, may a blessing be with your
down-lying and up-rising, and remember in your prayers your affectionate
daughter to command,
                                                      "Jean Deans."

A postscript bore, "I learned from a decent woman, a grazier's widow,
that they hae a cure for the muir-ill in Cumberland, whilk is ane pint,
as they ca't, of yill, whilk is a dribble in comparison of our gawsie
Scots pint, and hardly a mutchkin, boiled wi' sope and hartshorn draps,
and toomed doun the creature's throat wi' ane whorn. Ye might try it on
the bauson-faced year-auld quey; an it does nae gude, it can do nae ill.--
She was a kind woman, and seemed skeely about horned beasts. When I
reach Lunnon, I intend to gang to our cousin Mrs. Glass, the tobacconist,
at the sign o' the Thistle, wha is so ceevil as to send you down your
spleuchan-fu' anes a year; and as she must be well kend in Lunnon, I
doubt not easily to find out where she lives."

Being seduced into betraying our heroine's confidence thus far, we will
stretch our communication a step beyond, and impart to the reader her
letter to her lover.

"Mr. Reuben Butler,--Hoping this will find you better, this comes to say,
that I have reached this great town safe, and am not wearied with
walking, but the better for it. And I have seen many things which I trust
to tell you one day, also the muckle kirk of this place; and all around
the city are mills, whilk havena muckle wheels nor mill-dams, but gang by
the wind--strange to behold. Ane miller asked me to gang in and see it
work, but I wad not, for I am not come to the south to make acquaintance
with strangers. I keep the straight road, and just beck if onybody speaks
to me ceevilly, and answers naebody with the tong but women of my ain
sect. I wish, Mr. Butler, I kend onything that wad mak ye weel, for they
hae mair medicines in this town of York than wad cure a' Scotland, and
surely some of them wad be gude for your complaints. If ye had a kindly
motherly body to nurse ye, and no to let ye waste yoursell wi'
reading--whilk ye read mair than eneugh wi' the bairns in the
schule--and to gie ye warm milk in the morning, I wad be mair easy for
ye. Dear Mr. Butler, keep a good heart, for we are in the hands of Ane
that kens better what is gude for us than we ken what is for oursells. I
hae nae doubt to do that for which I am come--I canna doubt it--I winna
think to doubt it--because, if I haena full assurance, how shall I bear
myself with earnest entreaties in the great folk's presence? But to ken
that ane's purpose is right, and to make their heart strong, is the way
to get through the warst day's darg. The bairns' rime says, the warst
blast of the borrowing days* couldna kill the three silly poor hog-lams.

* The last three days of March, old style, are called the Borrowing Days;
for, as they are remarked to be unusually stormy, it is feigned that
March had borrowed them from April, to extend the sphere of his rougher
sway. The rhyme on the subject is quoted in the glossary to Leyden's
edition of the "Complaynt of Scotland"--

               [March said to Aperill,
                   I see three hogs upon a hill,
                A young sheep before it has lost its first fleece.
                   But when the borrowed days were gane
                The three silly hogs came hirplin hame.]

"And if it be God's pleasure, we that are sindered in sorrow may meet
again in joy, even on this hither side of Jordan. I dinna bid ye mind
what I said at our partin' anent my poor father, and that misfortunate
lassie, for I ken you will do sae for the sake of Christian charity,
whilk is mair than the entreaties of her that is your servant to command,

                                                    "Jeanie Deans."

This letter also had a postscript. "Dear Reuben, If ye think that it wad
hae been right for me to have said mair and kinder things to ye, just
think that I hae written sae, since I am sure that I wish a' that is kind
and right to ye and by ye. Ye will think I am turned waster, for I wear
clean hose and shoon every day; but it's the fashion here for decent
bodies and ilka land has it's ain landlaw. Ower and aboon a', if laughing
days were e'er to come back again till us, ye wad laugh weel to see my
round face at the far end of a strae _bon-grace,_ that looks as muckle
and round as the middell aisle in Libberton Kirk. But it sheds the sun
weel aff, and keeps uncivil folk frae staring as if ane were a worrycow.
I sall tell ye by writ how I come on wi' the Duke of Argyle, when I won
up to Lunnon. Direct a line, to say how ye are, to me, to the charge of
Mrs. Margaret Glass, tobacconist, at the sign of the Thistle, Lunnon,
whilk, if it assures me of your health, will make my mind sae muckle
easier. Excuse bad spelling and writing, as I have ane ill pen."

The orthography of these epistles may seem to the southron to require a
better apology than the letter expresses, though a bad pen was the excuse
of a certain Galwegian laird for bad spelling; but, on behalf of the
heroine, I would have them to know, that, thanks to the care of Butler,
Jeanie Deans wrote and spelled fifty times better than half the women of
rank in Scotland at that period, whose strange orthography and singular
diction form the strongest contrast to the good sense which their
correspondence usually intimates.

For the rest, in the tenor of these epistles, Jeanie expressed, perhaps,
more hopes, a firmer courage, and better spirits, than she actually felt.
But this was with the amiable idea of relieving her father and lover from
apprehensions on her account, which she was sensible must greatly add to
their other troubles. "If they think me weel, and like to do weel," said
the poor pilgrim to herself, "my father will be kinder to Effie, and
Butler will be kinder to himself. For I ken weel that they will think
mair o' me than I do o' mysell."

Accordingly, she sealed her letters carefully, and put them into the
post-office with her own hand, after many inquiries concerning the time
in which they were likely to reach Edinburgh. When this duty was
performed, she readily accepted her landlady's pressing invitation to
dine with her, and remain till the next morning. The hostess, as we have
said, was her countrywoman, and the eagerness with which Scottish people
meet, communicate, and, to the extent of their power, assist each other,
although it is often objected to us as a prejudice and narrowness of
sentiment, seems, on the contrary, to arise from a most justifiable and
honourable feeling of patriotism, combined with a conviction, which, if
undeserved, would long since have been confuted by experience, that the
habits and principles of the nation are a sort of guarantee for the
character of the individual. At any rate, if the extensive influence of
this national partiality be considered as an additional tie, binding man
to man, and calling forth the good offices of such as can render them to
the countryman who happens to need them, we think it must be found to
exceed, as an active and efficient motive, to generosity, that more
impartial and wider principle of general benevolence, which we have
sometimes seen pleaded as an excuse for assisting no individual whatever.

Mrs. Bickerton, lady of the ascendant of the Seven Stars, in the
Castle-gate, York, was deeply infected with the unfortunate prejudices of
her country. Indeed, she displayed so much kindness to Jeanie Deans
(because she herself, being a Merse woman, _marched_ with Mid-Lothian, in
which Jeanie was born), showed such motherly regard to her, and such
anxiety for her farther progress, that Jeanie thought herself safe,
though by temper sufficiently cautious, in communicating her whole story
to her.

Mrs. Bickerton raised her hands and eyes at the recital, and exhibited
much wonder and pity. But she also gave some effectual good advice.

She required to know the strength of Jeanie's purse, reduced by her
deposit at Liberton, and the necessary expense of her journey, to about
fifteen pounds. "This," she said, "would do very well, providing she
would carry it a' safe to London."

"Safe!" answered Jeanie; "I'se warrant my carrying it safe, bating the
needful expenses."

"Ay, but highwaymen, lassie," said Mrs. Bickerton; "for ye are come into
a more civilised, that is to say, a more roguish country than the north,
and how ye are to get forward, I do not profess to know. If ye could wait
here eight days, our waggons would go up, and I would recommend you to
Joe Broadwheel, who would see you safe to the Swan and two Necks. And
dinna sneeze at Joe, if he should be for drawing up wi' you" (continued
Mrs. Bickerton, her acquired English mingling with her national or
original dialect), "he's a handy boy, and a wanter, and no lad better
thought o' on the road; and the English make good husbands enough,
witness my poor man, Moses Bickerton, as is i' the kirkyard."

Jeanie hastened to say, that she could not possibly wait for the setting
forth of Joe Broadwheel; being internally by no means gratified with the
idea of becoming the object of his attention during the journey,

"Aweel, lass," answered the good landlady, "then thou must pickle in
thine ain poke-nook, and buckle thy girdle thine ain gate. But take my
advice, and hide thy gold in thy stays, and keep a piece or two and some
silver, in case thou be'st spoke withal; for there's as wud lads haunt
within a day's walk from hence, as on the braes of Doune in Perthshire.
And, lass, thou maunna gang staring through Lunnon, asking wha kens Mrs.
Glass at the sign o' the Thistle; marry, they would laugh thee to scorn.
But gang thou to this honest man," and she put a direction into Jeanie's
hand, "he kens maist part of the sponsible Scottish folk in the city, and
he will find out your friend for thee."

Jeanie took the little introductory letter with sincere thanks; but,
something alarmed on the subject of the highway robbers, her mind
recurred to what Ratcliffe had mentioned to her, and briefly relating the
circumstances which placed a document so extraordinary in her hands, she
put the paper he had given her into the hand of Mrs. Bickerton.

The Lady of the Seven Stars did not indeed ring a bell, because such was
not the fashion of the time, but she whistled on a silver call, which was
hung by her side, and a tight serving-maid entered the room.

"Tell Dick Ostler to come here," said Mrs. Bickerton.

Dick Ostler accordingly made his appearance;--a queer, knowing, shambling
animal, with a hatchet-face, a squint, a game-arm, and a limp.

"Dick Ostler," said Mrs. Bickerton, in a tone of authority that showed
she was (at least by adoption) Yorkshire too, "thou knowest most people
and most things o' the road."

"Eye, eye, God help me, mistress," said Dick, shrugging his shoulders
betwixt a repentant and a knowing expression--"Eye! I ha' know'd a thing
or twa i' ma day, mistress." He looked sharp and laughed--looked grave
and sighed, as one who was prepared to take the matter either way.

"Kenst thou this wee bit paper amang the rest, man?" said Mrs. Bickerton,
handing him the protection which Ratcliffe had given Jeanie Deans.

When Dick had looked at the paper, he winked with one eye, extended his
grotesque mouth from ear to ear, like a navigable canal, scratched his
head powerfully, and then said, "Ken!--ay--maybe we ken summat, an it
werena for harm to him, mistress!"

"None in the world," said Mrs. Bickerton; "only a dram of Hollands to
thyself, man, an thou wilt speak."

"Why, then," said Dick, giving the head-band of his breeches a knowing
hoist with one hand, and kicking out one foot behind him to accommodate
the adjustment of that important habiliment, "I dares to say the pass
will be kend weel eneugh on the road, an that be all."

"But what sort of a lad was he?" said Mrs. Bickerton, winking to Jeanie,
as proud of her knowing Ostler.

"Why, what ken I?--Jim the Rat--why he was Cock o' the North within this
twelmonth--he and Scotch Wilson, Handle Dandie, as they called him--but
he's been out o' this country a while, as I rackon; but ony gentleman, as
keeps the road o' this side Stamford, will respect Jim's pass."

Without asking farther questions, the landlady filled Dick Ostler a
bumper of Hollands. He ducked with his head and shoulders, scraped with
his more advanced hoof, bolted the alcohol, to use the learned phrase,
and withdrew to his own domains.

"I would advise thee, Jeanie," said Mrs. Bickerton, "an thou meetest with
ugly customers o' the road, to show them this bit paper, for it will
serve thee, assure thyself."

A neat little supper concluded the evening. The exported Scotswoman, Mrs.
Bickerton by name, ate heartily of one or two seasoned dishes, drank some
sound old ale, and a glass of stiff negus; while she gave Jeanie a
history of her gout, admiring how it was possible that she, whose fathers
and mothers for many generations had been farmers in Lammermuir, could
have come by a disorder so totally unknown to them. Jeanie did not choose
to offend her friendly landlady, by speaking her mind on the probable
origin of this complaint; but she thought on the flesh-pots of Egypt,
and, in spite of all entreaties to better fare, made her evening meal
upon vegetables, with a glass of fair water.

Mrs. Bickerton assured her, that the acceptance of any reckoning was
entirely out of the question, furnished her with credentials to her
correspondent in London, and to several inns upon the road where she had
some influence or interest, reminded her of the precautions she should
adopt for concealing her money, and as she was to depart early in the
morning, took leave of her very affectionately, taking her word that she
would visit her on her return to Scotland, and tell her how she had
managed, and that summum bonum for a gossip, "all how and about it." This
Jeanie faithfully promised.



CHAPTER FIFTH.

              And Need and Misery, Vice and Danger, bind,
              In sad alliance, each degraded mind.

As our traveller set out early on the ensuing morning to prosecute her
journey, and was in the act of leaving the innyard, Dick Ostler, who
either had risen early or neglected to go to bed, either circumstance
being equally incident to his calling, hollowed out after her,--"The top
of the morning to you, Moggie. Have a care o' Gunderby Hill, young one.
Robin Hood's dead and gwone, but there be takers yet in the vale of
Bever. Jeanie looked at him as if to request a farther explanation, but,
with a leer, a shuffle, and a shrug, inimitable (unless by Emery*), Dick
turned again to the raw-boned steed which he was currying, and sung as he
employed the comb and brush,--

               "Robin Hood was a yeoman right good,
                    And his bow was of trusty yew;
                And if Robin said stand on the king's lea-land,
                    Pray, why should not we say so too?"

* [John Emery, an eminent comedian, played successfully at Covent Garden
Theatre between 1798 and 1820. Among his characters, were those of Dandie
Dinmont in _Guy Mannering,_ Dougal in _Rob Roy,_ and Ratcliffe in the
Heart of _Mid-Lothian._]

Jeanie pursued her journey without farther inquiry, for there was nothing
in Dick's manner that inclined her to prolong their conference. A painful
day's journey brought her to Ferrybridge, the best inn, then and since,
upon the great northern road; and an introduction from Mrs. Bickerton,
added to her own simple and quiet manners, so propitiated the landlady of
the Swan in her favour, that the good dame procured her the convenient
accommodation of a pillion and post-horse then returning to Tuxford, so
that she accomplished, upon the second day after leaving York, the
longest journey she had yet made. She was a good deal fatigued by a mode
of travelling to which she was less accustomed than to walking, and it
was considerably later than usual on the ensuing morning that she felt
herself able to resume her pilgrimage. At noon the hundred-armed Trent,
and the blackened ruins of Newark Castle, demolished in the great civil
war, lay before her. It may easily be supposed, that Jeanie had no
curiosity to make antiquarian researches, but, entering the town, went
straight to the inn to which she had been directed at Ferrybridge. While
she procured some refreshment, she observed the girl who brought it to
her, looked at her several times with fixed and peculiar interest, and at
last, to her infinite surprise, inquired if her name was not Deans, and
if she was not a Scotchwoman, going to London upon justice business.
Jeanie, with all her simplicity of character, had some of the caution of
her country, and, according to Scottish universal custom, she answered
the question by another, requesting the girl would tell her why she asked
these questions?

The Maritornes of the Saracen's Head, Newark, replied, "Two women had
passed that morning, who had made inquiries after one Jeanie Deans,
travelling to London on such an errand, and could scarce be persuaded
that she had not passed on."

Much surprised and somewhat alarmed (for what is inexplicable is usually
alarming), Jeanie questioned the wench about the particular appearance of
these two women, but could only learn that the one was aged, and the
other young; that the latter was the taller, and that the former spoke
most, and seemed to maintain an authority over her companion, and that
both spoke with the Scottish accent.

This conveyed no information whatever, and with an indescribable
presentiment of evil designed towards her, Jeanie adopted the resolution
of taking post-horses for the next stage. In this, however, she could not
be gratified; some accidental circumstances had occasioned what is called
a run upon the road, and the landlord could not accommodate her with a
guide and horses. After waiting some time, in hopes that a pair of horses
that had gone southward would return in time for her use, she at length,
feeling ashamed at her own pusillanimity, resolved to prosecute her
journey in her usual manner.

"It was all plain road," she was assured, "except a high mountain called
Gunnerby Hill, about three miles from Grantham, which was her stage for
the night.

"I'm glad to hear there's a hill," said Jeanie, "for baith my sight and
my very feet are weary o' sic tracts o' level ground--it looks a' the way
between this and York as if a' the land had been trenched and levelled,
whilk is very wearisome to my Scotch een. When I lost sight of a muckle
blue hill they ca' Ingleboro', I thought I hadna a friend left in this
strange land."

"As for the matter of that, young woman," said mine host, "an you be so
fond o' hill, I carena an thou couldst carry Gunnerby away with thee in
thy lap, for it's a murder to post-horses. But here's to thy journey, and
mayst thou win well through it, for thou is a bold and a canny lass."

So saying, he took a powerful pull at a solemn tankard of home-brewed
ale.

"I hope there is nae bad company on the road, sir?" said Jeanie.

"Why, when it's clean without them I'll thatch Groby pool wi' pancakes.
But there arena sae mony now; and since they hae lost Jim the Rat, they
hold together no better than the men of Marsham when they lost their
common. Take a drop ere thou goest," he concluded, offering her the
tankard; "thou wilt get naething at night save Grantham gruel, nine grots
and a gallon of water."

Jeanie courteously declined the tankard, and inquired what was her
"lawing?"

"Thy lawing! Heaven help thee, wench! what ca'st thou that?"

"It is--I was wanting to ken what was to pay," replied Jeanie.

"Pay? Lord help thee!--why nought, woman--we hae drawn no liquor but a
gill o' beer, and the Saracen's Head can spare a mouthful o' meat to a
stranger like o' thee, that cannot speak Christian language. So here's to
thee once more. The same again, quoth Mark of Bellgrave," and he took
another profound pull at the tankard.

The travellers who have visited Newark more lately, will not fail to
remember the remarkably civil and gentlemanly manners of the person who
now keeps the principal inn there, and may find some amusement in
contrasting them with those of his more rough predecessor. But we believe
it will be found that the polish has worn off none of the real worth of
the metal.

Taking leave of her Lincolnshire Gaius, Jeanie resumed her solitary walk,
and was somewhat alarmed when evening and twilight overtook her in the
open ground which extends to the foot of Gunnerby Hill, and is
intersected with patches of copse and with swampy spots. The extensive
commons on the north road, most of which are now enclosed, and in general
a relaxed state of police, exposed the traveller to a highway robbery in
a degree which is now unknown, except in the immediate vicinity of the
metropolis. Aware of this circumstance, Jeanie mended her pace when she
heard the trampling of a horse behind, and instinctively drew to one side
of the road, as if to allow as much room for the rider to pass as might
be possible. When the animal came up, she found that it was bearing two
women, the one placed on a side-saddle, the other on a pillion behind
her, as may still occasionally be seen in England.

"A braw good-night to ye, Jeanie Deans," said the foremost female as the
horse passed our heroine; "What think ye o' yon bonny hill yonder,
lifting its brow to the moon? Trow ye yon's the gate to heaven, that ye
are sae fain of?--maybe we will win there the night yet, God sain us,
though our minny here's rather dreigh in the upgang."

The speaker kept changing her seat in the saddle, and half stopping the
horse as she brought her body round, while the woman that sate behind her
on the pillion seemed to urge her on, in words which Jeanie heard but
imperfectly.

"Hand your tongue, ye moon-raised b----! what is your business with ----,
or with heaven or hell either?"

"Troth, mither, no muckle wi' heaven, I doubt, considering wha I carry
ahint me--and as for hell, it will fight its ain battle at its ain time,
I'se be bound.--Come, naggie, trot awa, man, an as thou wert a
broomstick, for a witch rides thee--

      With my curtch on my foot, and my shoe on my hand,
      I glance like the wildfire through brugh and through land."

The tramp of the horse, and the increasing distance, drowned the rest of
her song, but Jeanie heard for some time the inarticulate sounds ring
along the waste.

Our pilgrim remained stupified with undefined apprehensions. The being
named by her name in so wild a manner, and in a strange country, without
farther explanation or communing, by a person who thus strangely flitted
forward and disappeared before her, came near to the supernatural sounds
in Comus:--

             The airy tongues, which syllable men's names
             On sands, and shores, and desert wildernesses.

And although widely different in features, deportment, and rank, from the
Lady of that enchanting masque, the continuation of the passage may be
happily applied to Jeanie Deans upon this singular alarm:--

              These thoughts may startle well, but not astound
              The virtuous mind, that ever walks attended
              By a strong siding champion--Conscience.

In fact, it was, with the recollection of the affectionate and dutiful
errand on which she was engaged, her right, if such a word could be
applicable, to expect protection in a task so meritorious. She had not
advanced much farther, with a mind calmed by these reflections, when she
was disturbed by a new and more instant subject of terror. Two men, who
had been lurking among some copse, started up as she advanced, and met
her on the road in a menacing manner. "Stand and deliver," said one of
them, a short stout fellow, in a smock-frock, such as are worn by
waggoners.

"The woman," said the other, a tall thin figure, "does not understand the
words of action.--Your money, my precious, or your life."

"I have but very little money, gentlemen," said poor Jeanie, tendering
that portion which she had separated from her principal stock, and kept
apart for such an emergency; "but if you are resolved to have it, to be
sure you must have it."

"This won't do, my girl. D--n me, if it shall pass!" said the shorter
ruffian; "do ye think gentlemen are to hazard their lives on the road to
be cheated in this way? We'll have every farthing you have got, or we
will strip you to the skin, curse me."

His companion, who seemed to have something like compassion for the
horror which Jeanie's countenance now expressed, said, "No, no, Tom, this
is one of the precious sisters, and we'll take her word, for once,
without putting her to the stripping proof--Hark ye, my lass, if ye look
up to heaven, and say, this is the last penny you have about ye, why,
hang it, we'll let you pass."

"I am not free," answered Jeanie, "to say what I have about me,
gentlemen, for there's life and death depends on my journey; but if you
leave me as much as finds me bread and water, I'll be satisfied, and
thank you, and pray for you."

"D--n your prayers!" said the shorter fellow, "that's a coin that won't
pass with us;" and at the same time made a motion to seize her.

"Stay, gentlemen," Ratcliffe's pass suddenly occurring to her; "perhaps
you know this paper."

"What the devil is she after now, Frank?" said the more savage
ruffian--"Do you look at it, for, d--n me if I could read it if it were
for the benefit of my clergy."

"This is a jark from Jim Ratcliffe," said the taller, having looked at
the bit of paper. "The wench must pass by our cutter's law."

"I say no," answered his companion; "Rat has left the lay, and turned
bloodhound, they say."

"We may need a good turn from him all the same," said the taller ruffian
again.

"But what are we to do then?" said the shorter man--"We promised, you
know, to strip the wench, and send her begging back to her own beggarly
country, and now you are for letting her go on."

"I did not say that," said the other fellow, and whispered to his
companion, who replied, "Be alive about it then, and don't keep
chattering till some travellers come up to nab us."

"You must follow us off the road, young woman," said the taller.

"For the love of God!" exclaimed Jeanie, "as you were born of woman,
dinna ask me to leave the road! rather take all I have in the world."

"What the devil is the wench afraid of?" said the other fellow. "I tell
you you shall come to no harm; but if you will not leave the road and
come with us, d--n me, but I'll beat your brains out where you stand."

"Thou art a rough bear, Tom," said his companion.--"An ye touch her, I'll
give ye a shake by the collar shall make the Leicester beans rattle in
thy guts.--Never mind him, girl; I will not allow him to lay a finger on
you, if you walk quietly on with us; but if you keep jabbering there,
d--n me, but I'll leave him to settle it with you."

This threat conveyed all that is terrible to the imagination of poor
Jeanie, who saw in him that "was of milder mood" her only protection from
the most brutal treatment. She, therefore, not only followed him, but
even held him by the sleeve, lest he should escape from her; and the
fellow, hardened as he was, seemed something touched by these marks of
confidence, and repeatedly assured her, that he would suffer her to
receive no harm.

They conducted their prisoner in a direction leading more and more from
the public road, but she observed that they kept a sort of track or
by-path, which relieved her from part of her apprehensions, which would
have been greatly increased had they not seemed to follow a determined
and ascertained route. After about half-an-hour's walking, all three in
profound silence, they approached an old barn, which stood on the edge of
some cultivated ground, but remote from everything like a habitation. It
was itself, however, tenanted, for there was light in the windows.

One of the footpads scratched at the door, which was opened by a female,
and they entered with their unhappy prisoner. An old woman, who was
preparing food by the assistance of a stifling fire of lighted charcoal,
asked them, in the name of the devil, what they brought the wench there
for, and why they did not strip her and turn her abroad on the common?

"Come, come, Mother Blood," said the tall man, "we'll do what's right to
oblige you, and we'll do no more; we are bad enough, but not such as you
would make us,--devils incarnate."

"She has got a jark from Jim Ratcliffe," said the short fellow, "and
Frank here won't hear of our putting her through the mill."

"No, that I will not, by G--d!" answered Frank; "but if old Mother Blood
could keep her here for a little while, or send her back to Scotland,
without hurting her, why, I see no harm in that--not I."

"I'll tell you what, Frank Levitt," said the old woman, "if you call me
Mother Blood again, I'll paint this gully" (and she held a knife up as if
about to make good her threat) "in the best blood in your body, my bonny
boy."

"The price of ointment must be up in the north," said Frank, "that puts
Mother Blood so much out of humour."

Without a moment's hesitation the fury darted her knife at him with the
vengeful dexterity of a wild Indian. As he was on his guard, he avoided
the missile by a sudden motion of his head, but it whistled past his ear,
and stuck deep in the clay wall of a partition behind.

"Come, come, mother," said the robber, seizing her by both wrists, "I
shall teach you who's master;" and so saying, he forced the hag backwards
by main force, who strove vehemently until she sunk on a bunch of straw,
and then, letting go her hands, he held up his finger towards her in the
menacing posture by which a maniac is intimidated by his keeper. It
appeared to produce the desired effect; for she did not attempt to rise
from the seat on which he had placed her, or to resume any measures of
actual violence, but wrung her withered hands with impotent rage, and
brayed and howled like a demoniac.

"I will keep my promise with you, you old devil," said Frank; "the wench
shall not go forward on the London road, but I will not have you touch a
hair of her head, if it were but for your insolence."

This intimation seemed to compose in some degree the vehement passion of
the old hag; and while her exclamations and howls sunk into a low,
maundering, growling tone of voice, another personage was added to this
singular party.

"Eh, Frank Levitt," said this new-comer, who entered with a hop, step,
and jump, which at once conveyed her from the door into the centre of the
party, "were ye killing our mother? or were ye cutting the grunter's
weasand that Tam brought in this morning? or have ye been reading your
prayers backward, to bring up my auld acquaintance the deil amang ye?"

The tone of the speaker was so particular, that Jeanie immediately
recognised the woman who had rode foremost of the pair which passed her
just before she met the robbers; a circumstance which greatly increased
her terror, as it served to show that the mischief designed against her
was premeditated, though by whom, or for what cause, she was totally at a
loss to conjecture. From the style of her conversation, the reader also
may probably acknowledge in this female an old acquaintance in the
earlier part of our narrative.

"Out, ye mad devil!" said Tom, whom she had disturbed in the middle of a
draught of some liquor with which he had found means of accommodating
himself; "betwixt your Bess of Bedlam pranks, and your dam's frenzies, a
man might live quieter in the devil's ken than here."--And he again
resumed the broken jug out of which he had been drinking.

"And wha's this o't?" said the mad woman, dancing up to Jeanie Deans,
who, although in great terror, yet watched the scene with a resolution to
let nothing pass unnoticed which might be serviceable in assisting her to
escape, or informing her as to the true nature of her situation, and the
danger attending it,--"Wha's this o't?" again exclaimed Madge Wildfire.

"Douce Davie Deans, the auld doited whig body's daughter, in a gipsy's
barn, and the night setting in? This is a sight for sair een!--Eh, sirs,
the falling off o' the godly!--and the t'other sister's in the Tolbooth
of Edinburgh; I am very sorry for her, for my share--it's my mother
wusses ill to her, and no me--though maybe I hae as muckle cause."

"Hark ye, Madge," said the taller ruffian, "you have not such a touch of
the devil's blood as the hag your mother, who may be his dam for what I
know--take this young woman to your kennel, and do not let the devil
enter, though he should ask in God's name."

"Ou ay; that I will, Frank," said Madge, taking hold of Jeanie by the
arm, and pulling her along; "for it's no for decent Christian young
leddies, like her and me, to be keeping the like o' you and Tyburn Tam
company at this time o' night. Sae gude-e'en t'ye, sirs, and mony o'
them; and may ye a' sleep till the hangman wauken ye, and then it will be
weel for the country."

She then, as her wild fancy seemed suddenly to prompt her, walked
demurely towards her mother, who, seated by the charcoal fire, with the
reflection of the red light on her withered and distorted features marked
by every evil passion, seemed the very picture of Hecate at her infernal
rites; and, suddenly dropping on her knees, said, with the manner of a
six years' old child, "Mammie, hear me say my prayers before I go to bed,
and say God bless my bonny face, as ye used to do lang syne."

"The deil flay the hide o' it to sole his brogues wi'!" said the old
lady, aiming a buffet at the supplicant, in answer to her duteous
request.

The blow missed Madge, who, being probably acquainted by experience with
the mode in which her mother was wont to confer her maternal
benedictions, slipt out of arm's length with great dexterity and
quickness. The hag then started up, and, seizing a pair of old
fire-tongs, would have amended her motion, by beating out the brains
either of her daughter or Jeanie (she did not seem greatly to care
which), when her hand was once more arrested by the man whom they called
Frank Levitt, who, seizing her by the shoulder, flung her from him with
great violence, exclaiming, "What, Mother Damnable--again, and in my
sovereign presence!--Hark ye, Madge of Bedlam! get to your hole with your
playfellow, or we shall have the devil to pay here, and nothing to pay
him with."

Madge took Levitt's advice, retreating as fast as she could, and dragging
Jeanie along with her into a sort of recess, partitioned off from the
rest of the barn, and filled with straw, from which it appeared that it
was intended for the purpose of slumber. The moonlight shone, through an
open hole, upon a pillion, a pack-saddle, and one or two wallets, the
travelling furniture of Madge and her amiable mother.--"Now, saw ye e'er
in your life," said Madge, "sae dainty a chamber of deas? see as the moon
shines down sae caller on the fresh strae! There's no a pleasanter cell
in Bedlam, for as braw a place as it is on the outside.--Were ye ever in
Bedlam?"

"No," answered Jeanie faintly, appalled by the question, and the way in
which it was put, yet willing to soothe her insane companion, being in
circumstances so unhappily precarious, that even the society of this
gibbering madwoman seemed a species of protection.

"Never in Bedlam?" said Madge, as if with some surprise.--"But ye'll hae
been in the cells at Edinburgh!"

"Never," repeated Jeanie.

"Weel, I think thae daft carles the magistrates send naebody to Bedlam
but me--thae maun hae an unco respect for me, for whenever I am brought
to them, thae aye hae me back to Bedlam. But troth, Jeanie" (she said
this in a very confidential tone), "to tell ye my private mind about it,
I think ye are at nae great loss; for the keeper's a cross-patch, and he
maun hae it a' his ain gate, to be sure, or he makes the place waur than
hell. I often tell him he's the daftest in a' the house.--But what are
they making sic a skirling for?--Deil ane o' them's get in here--it wadna
be mensfu'! I will sit wi' my back again the door; it winna be that easy
stirring me."

"Madge!"--"Madge!"--"Madge Wildfire!"--"Madge devil! what have ye done
with the horse?" was repeatedly asked by the men without.

"He's e'en at his supper, puir thing," answered Madge; "deil an ye were
at yours, too, an it were scauding brimstone, and then we wad hae less o'
your din."

"His supper!" answered the more sulky ruffian--"What d'ye mean by
that!--Tell me where he is, or I will knock your Bedlam brains out!"

"He's in Gaffer Gablewood's wheat-close, an ye maun ken."

"His wheat-close, you crazed jilt!" answered the other, with an accent of
great indignation.

"O, dear Tyburn Tam, man, what ill will the blades of the young wheat do
to the puir nag?"

"That is not the question," said the other robber; "but what the country
will say to us to-morrow, when they see him in such quarters?--Go, Tom,
and bring him in; and avoid the soft ground, my lad; leave no hoof-track
behind you."

"I think you give me always the fag of it, whatever is to be done,"
grumbled his companion.

"Leap, Laurence, you're long enough," said the other; and the fellow left
the barn accordingly, without farther remonstrance.

In the meanwhile, Madge had arranged herself for repose on the straw; but
still in a half-sitting posture, with her back resting against the door
of the hovel, which, as it opened inwards, was in this manner kept shut
by the weight of the person.

"There's mair shifts by stealing, Jeanie," said Madge Wildfire; "though
whiles I can hardly get our mother to think sae. Wha wad hae thought but
mysell of making a bolt of my ain back-bane? But it's no sae strong as
thae that I hae seen in the Tolbooth at Edinburgh. The hammermen of
Edinburgh are to my mind afore the warld for making stancheons,
ring-bolts, fetter-bolts, bars, and locks. And they arena that bad at
girdles for carcakes neither, though the Cu'ross hammermen have the gree
for that. My mother had ance a bonny Cu'ross girdle, and I thought to
have baked carcakes on it for my puir wean that's dead and gane nae fair
way--But we maun a' dee, ye ken, Jeanie--You Cameronian bodies ken that
brawlies; and ye're for making a hell upon earth that ye may be less
unwillin' to part wi' it. But as touching Bedlam that ye were speaking
about, I'se ne'er recommend it muckle the tae gate or the other, be it
right--be it wrang. But ye ken what the sang says." And, pursuing the
unconnected and floating wanderings of her mind, she sung aloud--

                    "In the bonny cells of Bedlam,
                        Ere I was ane-and-twenty,
                    I had hempen bracelets strong,
                       And merry whips, ding-dong,
                    And prayer and fasting plenty.

"Weel, Jeanie, I am something herse the night, and I canna sing muckle
mair; and troth, I think, I am gaun to sleep."

She drooped her head on her breast, a posture from which Jeanie, who
would have given the world for an opportunity of quiet to consider the
means and the probability of her escape, was very careful not to disturb
her. After nodding, however, for a minute'or two, with her eyes
half-closed, the unquiet and restless spirit of her malady again assailed
Madge. She raised her head, and spoke, but with a lowered tone, which was
again gradually overcome by drowsiness, to which the fatigue of a day's
journey on horseback had probably given unwonted occasion,--"I dinna ken
what makes me sae sleepy--I amaist never sleep till my bonny Lady Moon
gangs till her bed--mair by token, when she's at the full, ye ken, rowing
aboon us yonder in her grand silver coach--I have danced to her my lane
sometimes for very joy--and whiles dead folk came and danced wi' me--the
like o' Jock Porteous, or ony body I had ken'd when I was living--for ye
maun ken I was ance dead mysell." Here the poor maniac sung, in a low and
wild tone,

                 "My banes are buried in yon kirkyard
                        Sae far ayont the sea,
                  And it is but my blithesome ghaist
                        That's speaking now to thee.

"But after a', Jeanie, my woman, naebody kens weel wha's living and wha's
dead--or wha's gone to Fairyland--there's another question. Whiles I
think my puir bairn's dead--ye ken very weel it's buried--but that
signifies naething. I have had it on my knee a hundred times, and a
hundred till that, since it was buried--and how could that be were it
dead, ye ken?--it's merely impossible."--And here, some conviction
half-overcoming the reveries of her imagination, she burst into a fit of
crying and ejaculation, "Wae's me! wae's me! wae's me!" till at length
she moaned and sobbed herself into a deep sleep, which was soon intimated
by her breathing hard, leaving Jeanie to her own melancholy reflections
and observations.



CHAPTER SIXTH.


               Bind her quickly; or, by this steel,
               I'll tell, although I truss for company.
                                       Fletcher.

The imperfect light which shone into the window enabled Jeanie to see
that there was scarcely any chance of making her escape in that
direction; for the aperture was high in the wall, and so narrow, that,
could she have climbed up to it, she might well doubt whether it would
have permitted her to pass her body through it. An unsuccessful attempt
to escape would be sure to draw down worse treatment than she now
received, and she, therefore, resolved to watch her opportunity carefully
ere making such a perilous effort. For this purpose she applied herself
to the ruinous clay partition, which divided the hovel in which she now
was from the rest of the waste barn. It was decayed and full of cracks
and chinks, one of which she enlarged with her fingers, cautiously and
without noise, until she could obtain a plain view of the old hag and the
taller ruffian, whom they called Levitt, seated together beside the
decayed fire of charcoal, and apparently engaged in close conference. She
was at first terrified by the sight; for the features of the old woman
had a hideous cast of hardened and inveterate malice and ill-humour, and
those of the man, though naturally less unfavourable, were such as
corresponded well with licentious habits, and a lawless profession.

"But I remembered," said Jeanie, "my worthy fathers tales of a winter
evening, how he was confined with the blessed martyr, Mr. James Renwick,
who lifted up the fallen standard of the true reformed Kirk of Scotland,
after the worthy and renowned Daniel Cameron, our last blessed
banner-man, had fallen among the swords of the wicked at Airsmoss, and
how the very hearts of the wicked malefactors and murderers, whom they
were confined withal, were melted like wax at the sound of their
doctrine: and I bethought mysell, that the same help that was wi' them in
their strait, wad be wi' me in mine, an I could but watch the Lord's time
and opportunity for delivering my feet from their snare; and I minded the
Scripture of the blessed Psalmist, whilk he insisteth on, as weel in the
forty-second as in the forty-third psalm--'Why art thou cast down, O my
soul, and why art thou disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet
praise Him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.'"

Strengthened in a mind naturally calm, sedate, and firm, by the influence
of religious confidence, this poor captive was enabled to attend to, and
comprehend, a great part of an interesting conversation which passed
betwixt those into whose hands she had fallen, notwithstanding that their
meaning was partly disguised by the occasional use of cant terms, of
which Jeanie knew not the import, by the low tone in which they spoke,
and by their mode of supplying their broken phrases by shrugs and signs,
as is usual amongst those of their disorderly profession.

The man opened the conversation by saying, "Now, dame, you see I am true
to my friend. I have not forgot that you _planked a chury,_* which helped
me through the bars of the Castle of York, and I came to do your work
without asking questions; for one good turn deserves another.

* Concealed a knife.

But now that Madge, who is as loud as Tom of Lincoln, is somewhat still,
and this same Tyburn Neddie is shaking his heels after the old nag, why,
you must tell me what all this is about, and what's to be done--for d--n
me if I touch the girl, or let her be touched, and she with Jim Rat's
pass, too."

"Thou art an honest lad, Frank," answered the old woman, "but e'en too
good for thy trade; thy tender heart will get thee into trouble. I will
see ye gang up Holborn Hill backward, and a' on the word of some silly
loon that could never hae rapped to ye had ye drawn your knife across his
weasand."

"You may be balked there, old one," answered the robber; "I have known
many a pretty lad cut short in his first summer upon the road, because he
was something hasty with his flats and sharps. Besides, a man would fain
live out his two years with a good conscience. So, tell me what all this
is about, and what's to be done for you that one can do decently?"

"Why, you must know, Frank--but first taste a snap of right Hollands."
She drew a flask from her pocket, and filled the fellow a large bumper,
which he pronounced to be the right thing.--"You must know, then,
Frank--wunna ye mend your hand?" again offering the flask.

"No, no,--when a woman wants mischief from you, she always begins by
filling you drunk. D--n all Dutch courage. What I do I will do
soberly--I'll last the longer for that too."

"Well, then, you must know," resumed the old woman, without any further
attempts at propitiation, "that this girl is going to London."

Here Jeanie could only distinguish the word sister.

The robber answered in a louder tone, "Fair enough that; and what the
devil is your business with it?"

"Business enough, I think. If the b--queers the noose, that silly cull
will marry her."

"And who cares if he does?" said the man.

"Who cares, ye donnard Neddie! I care; and I will strangle her with my
own hands, rather than she should come to Madge's preferment."

"Madge's preferment! Does your old blind eyes see no farther than that?
If he is as you say, dye think he'll ever marry a moon-calf like Madge?
Ecod, that's a good one--Marry Madge Wildfire!--Ha! ha! ha!"

"Hark ye, ye crack-rope padder, born beggar, and bred thief!" replied the
hag, "suppose he never marries the wench, is that a reason he should
marry another, and that other to hold my daughter's place, and she
crazed, and I a beggar, and all along of him? But I know that of him will
hang him--I know that of him will hang him, if he had a thousand lives--I
know that of him will hang--hang--hang him!"

She grinned as she repeated and dwelt upon the fatal monosyllable, with
the emphasis of a vindictive fiend.

"Then why don't you hang--hang--hang him?" said Frank, repeating her
words contemptuously. "There would be more sense in that, than in
wreaking yourself here upon two wenches that have done you and your
daughter no ill."

"No ill?" answered the old woman--"and he to marry this jail-bird, if
ever she gets her foot loose!"

"But as there is no chance of his marrying a bird of your brood, I
cannot, for my soul, see what you have to do with all this," again
replied the robber, shrugging his shoulders. "Where there is aught to be
got, I'll go as far as my neighbours, but I hate mischief for mischiefs
sake."

"And would you go nae length for revenge?" said the hag--"for
revenge--the sweetest morsel to the mouth that over was cooked in hell!"

"The devil may keep it for his own eating, then," said the robber; "for
hang me if I like the sauce he dresses it with."

"Revenge!" continued the old woman; "why, it is the best reward the devil
gives us for our time here and hereafter. I have wrought hard for it--I
have suffered for it--and I have sinned for it--and I will have it,--or
there is neither justice in heaven or in hell!"

Levitt had by this time lighted a pipe, and was listening with great
composure to the frantic and vindictive ravings of the old hag. He was
too much, hardened by his course of life to be shocked with them--too
indifferent, and probably too stupid, to catch any part of their
animation or energy. "But, mother," he said, after a pause, "still I say,
that if revenge is your wish, you should take it on the young fellow
himself."

"I wish I could," she said, drawing in her breath, with the eagerness of
a thirsty person while mimicking the action of drinking--"I wish I
could--but no--I cannot--I cannot."

"And why not?--You would think little of peaching and hanging him for
this Scotch affair.--Rat me, one might have milled the Bank of England,
and less noise about it."

"I have nursed him at this withered breast," answered the old woman,
folding her hands on her bosom, as if pressing an infant to it, "and,
though he has proved an adder to me--though he has been the destruction
of me and mine--though he has made me company for the devil, if there be
a devil, and food for hell, if there be such a place, yet I cannot take
his life.--No, I cannot," she continued, with an appearance of rage
against herself; "I have thought of it--I have tried it--but, Francis
Levitt, I canna gang through wi't--Na, na--he was the first bairn I ever
nurst--ill I had been--and man can never ken what woman feels for the
bairn she has held first to her bosom!"

"To be sure," said Levitt, "we have no experience; but, mother, they say
you ha'n't been so kind to other bairns, as you call them, that have come
in your way.--Nay, d--n me, never lay your hand on the whittle, for I am
captain and leader here, and I will have no rebellion."

The hag, whose first motion had been, upon hearing the question, to grasp
the haft of a large knife, now unclosed her hand, stole it away from the
weapon, and suffered it to fall by her side, while she proceeded with a
sort of smile--"Bairns! ye are joking, lad--wha wad touch bairns? Madge,
puir thing, had a misfortune wi' ane--and the t'other"--Here her voice
sunk so much, that Jeanie, though anxiously upon the watch, could not
catch a word she said, until she raised her tone at the conclusion of the
sentence--"So Madge, in her daffin', threw it into the Nor'-lock, I
trow."

Madge, whose slumbers, like those of most who labour under mental malady,
had been short, and were easily broken, now made herself heard from her
place of repose.

"Indeed, mother, that's a great lie, for I did nae sic thing."

"Hush, thou hellicat devil," said her mother--"By Heaven! the other wench
will be waking too."

"That may be dangerous," said Frank; and he rose, and followed Meg
Murdockson across the floor.

"Rise," said the hag to her daughter, "or I sall drive the knife between
the planks into the Bedlam back of thee!"

Apparently she at the same time seconded her threat by pricking her with
the point of a knife, for Madge, with a faint scream, changed her place,
and the door opened.


[Illustration: Jennie in the Outlaws Hut--80]


The old woman held a candle in one hand, and a knife in the other. Levitt
appeared behind her, whether with a view of preventing, or assisting her
in any violence she might meditate, could not be well guessed. Jeanie's
presence of mind stood her friend in this dreadful crisis. She had
resolution enough to maintain the attitude and manner of one who sleeps
profoundly, and to regulate even her breathing, notwithstanding the
agitation of instant terror, so as to correspond with her attitude.

The old woman passed the light across her eyes; and although Jeanie's
fears were so powerfully awakened by this movement, that she often
declared afterwards, that she thought she saw the figures of her destined
murderers through her closed eyelids, she had still the resolution to
maintain the feint, on which her safety perhaps depended.

Levitt looked at her with fixed attention; he then turned the old woman
out of the place, and followed her himself. Having regained the outward
apartment, and seated themselves, Jeanie heard the highwayman say, to her
no small relief, "She's as fast as if she were in Bedfordshire.--Now, old
Meg, d--n me if I can understand a glim of this story of yours, or what
good it will do you to hang the one wench and torment the other; but, rat
me, I will be true to my friend, and serve ye the way ye like it. I see
it will be a bad job; but I do think I could get her down to Surfleet on
the Wash, and so on board Tom Moonshine's neat lugger, and keep her out
of the way three or four weeks, if that will please ye--But d--n me if
any one shall harm her, unless they have a mind to choke on a brace of
blue plums.--It's a cruel, bad job, and I wish you and it, Meg, were both
at the devil."

"Never mind, hinny Levitt," said the old woman; "you are a ruffler, and
will have a' your ain gate--She shanna gang to heaven an hour sooner for
me; I carena whether she live or die--it's her sister--ay, her sister!"

"Well, we'll say no more about it; I hear Tom coming in. We'll couch a
hogshead,* and so better had you."

* Lay ourselves down to sleep.

They retired to repose accordingly, and all was silent in this asylum of
iniquity.

Jeanie lay for a long time awake. At break of day she heard the two
ruffians leave the barn, after whispering to the old woman for some time.
The sense that she was now guarded by persons of her own sex gave her
some confidence, and irresistible lassitude at length threw her into
slumber.

When the captive awakened, the sun was high in heaven, and the morning
considerably advanced. Madge Wildfire was still in the hovel which had
served them for the night, and immediately bid her good-morning, with her
usual air of insane glee. "And dye ken, lass," said Madge, "there's queer
things chanced since ye hae been in the land of Nod. The constables hae
been here, woman, and they met wi' my minnie at the door, and they
whirl'd her awa to the Justice's about the man's wheat.--Dear! thae
English churls think as muckle about a blade of wheat or grass, as a
Scotch laird does about his maukins and his muir-poots. Now, lass, if ye
like, we'll play them a fine jink; we will awa out and take a walk--they
will mak unco wark when they miss us, but we can easily be back by dinner
time, or before dark night at ony rate, and it will be some frolic and
fresh air.--But maybe ye wad like to take some breakfast, and then lie
down again? I ken by mysell, there's whiles I can sit wi' my head in my
hand the haill day, and havena a word to cast at a dog--and other whiles,
that I canna sit still a moment. That's when the folk think me warst, but
I am aye canny eneugh--ye needna be feared to walk wi' me."

Had Madge Wildfire been the most raging lunatic, instead of possessing a
doubtful, uncertain, and twilight sort of rationality, varying, probably,
from the influence of the most trivial causes, Jeanie would hardly have
objected to leave a place of captivity, where she had so much to
apprehend. She eagerly assured Madge that she had no occasion for further
sleep, no desire whatever for eating; and, hoping internally that she was
not guilty of sin in doing so, she flattered her keeper's crazy humour
for walking in the woods.

"It's no a'thegither for that neither," said poor Madge; "but I am
judging ye will wun the better out o' thae folk's hands; no that they are
a'thegither bad folk neither, but they have queer ways wi' them, and I
whiles dinna think it has ever been weel wi' my mother and me since we
kept sic-like company."

With the haste, the joy, the fear, and the hope of a liberated captive,
Jeanie snatched up her little bundle, followed Madge into the free air,
and eagerly looked round her for a human habitation; but none was to be
seen. The ground was partly cultivated, and partly left in its natural
state, according as the fancy of the slovenly agriculturists had decided.
In its natural state it was waste, in some places covered with dwarf
trees and bushes, in others swamp, and elsewhere firm and dry downs or
pasture grounds.

Jeanie's active mind next led her to conjecture which way the high-road
lay, whence she had been forced. If she regained that public road, she
imagined she must soon meet some person, or arrive at some house, where
she might tell her story, and request protection. But, after a glance
around her, she saw with regret that she had no means whatever of
directing her course with any degree of certainty, and that she was still
in dependence upon her crazy companion. "Shall we not walk upon the
high-road?" said she to Madge, in such a tone as a nurse uses to coax a
child. "It's brawer walking on the road than amang thae wild bushes and
whins."

Madge, who was walking very fast, stopped at this question, and looked at
Jeanie with a sudden and scrutinising glance, that seemed to indicate
complete acquaintance with her purpose. "Aha, lass!" she exclaimed, "are
ye gaun to guide us that gate?--Ye'll be for making your heels save your
head, I am judging."

Jeanie hesitated for a moment, on hearing her companion thus express
herself, whether she had not better take the hint, and try to outstrip
and get rid of her. But she knew not in which direction to fly; she was
by no means sure that she would prove the swiftest, and perfectly
conscious that in the event of her being pursued and overtaken, she would
be inferior to the madwoman in strength. She therefore gave up thoughts
for the present of attempting to escape in that manner, and, saying a few
words to allay Madge's suspicions, she followed in anxious apprehension
the wayward path by which her guide thought proper to lead her. Madge,
infirm of purpose, and easily reconciled to the present scene, whatever
it was, began soon to talk with her usual diffuseness of ideas.

"It's a dainty thing to be in the woods on a fine morning like this! I
like it far better than the town, for there isna a wheen duddie bairns to
be crying after ane, as if ane were a warld's wonder, just because
ane maybe is a thought bonnier and better put-on than their
neighbours--though, Jeanie, ye suld never be proud o' braw claiths,
or beauty neither--wae's me! they're but a snare--I ance thought better
o'them, and what came o't?"

"Are ye sure ye ken the way ye are taking us?" said Jeanie, who began to
imagine that she was getting deeper into the woods and more remote from
the high-road.

"Do I ken the road?--Wasna I mony a day living here, and what for
shouldna I ken the road? I might hae forgotten, too, for it was afore my
accident; but there are some things ane can never forget, let them try it
as muckle as they like."

By this time they had gained the deepest part of a patch of woodland. The
trees were a little separated from each other, and at the foot of one of
them, a beautiful poplar, was a hillock of moss, such as the poet of
Grasmere has described. So soon as she arrived at this spot, Madge
Wildfire, joining her hands above her head with a loud scream that
resembled laughter, flung herself all at once upon the spot, and remained
lying there motionless.

Jeanie's first idea was to take the opportunity of flight; but her desire
to escape yielded for a moment to apprehension for the poor insane being,
who, she thought, might perish for want of relief. With an effort, which
in her circumstances, might be termed heroic, she stooped down, spoke in
a soothing tone, and endeavoured to raise up the forlorn creature. She
effected this with difficulty, and as she placed her against the tree in
a sitting posture, she observed with surprise, that her complexion,
usually florid, was now deadly pale, and that her face was bathed in
tears. Notwithstanding her own extreme danger, Jeanie was affected by the
situation of her companion; and the rather, that, through the whole train
of her wavering and inconsistent state of mind and line of conduct, she
discerned a general colour of kindness towards herself, for which she
felt gratitude.

"Let me alane!--let me alane!" said the poor young woman, as her paroxysm
of sorrow began to abate--"Let me alane--it does me good to weep. I canna
shed tears but maybe ance or twice a year, and I aye come to wet this
turf with them, that the flowers may grow fair, and the grass may be
green."

"But what is the matter with you?" said Jeanie--"Why do you weep so
bitterly?"

"There's matter enow," replied the lunatic,--"mair than ae puir mind can
bear, I trow. Stay a bit, and I'll tell you a' about it; for I like ye,
Jeanie Deans--a'body spoke weel about ye when we lived in the Pleasaunts--
And I mind aye the drink o' milk ye gae me yon day, when I had been on
Arthur's Seat for four-and-twenty hours, looking for the ship that
somebody was sailing in."

These words recalled to Jeanie's recollection, that, in fact, she had
been one morning much frightened by meeting a crazy young woman near her
father's house at an early hour, and that, as she appeared to be
harmless, her apprehension had been changed into pity, and she had
relieved the unhappy wanderer with some food, which she devoured with the
haste of a famished person. The incident, trifling in itself, was at
present of great importance, if it should be found to have made a
favourable and permanent impression in her favour on the mind of the
object of her charity.

"Yes," said Madge, "I'll tell ye a' about it, for ye are a decent man's
daughter--Douce Davie Deans, ye ken--and maybe ye'll can teach me to find
out the narrow way, and the straight path, for I have been burning bricks
in Egypt, and walking through the weary wilderness of Sinai, for lang and
mony a day. But whenever I think about mine errors, I am like to cover my
lips for shame."--Here she looked up and smiled.--"It's a strange thing
now--I hae spoke mair gude words to you in ten minutes, than I wad speak
to my mother in as mony years--it's no that I dinna think on them--and
whiles they are just at my tongue's end, but then comes the devil, and
brushes my lips with his black wing, and lays his broad black loof on my
mouth--for a black loof it is, Jeanie--and sweeps away a' my gude
thoughts, and dits up my gude words, and pits a wheen fule sangs and idle
vanities in their place."

"Try, Madge," said Jeanie,--"try to settle your mind and make your breast
clean, and you'll find your heart easier.--Just resist the devil, and he
will flee from you--and mind that, as my worthy father tells me, there is
nae devil sae deceitfu' as our ain wandering thoughts."

"And that's true too, lass," said Madge, starting up; "and I'll gang a
gate where the devil daurna follow me; and it's a gate that you will like
dearly to gang--but I'll keep a fast haud o' your arm, for fear Apollyon
should stride across the path, as he did in the Pilgrim's Progress."

Accordingly she got up, and, taking Jeanie by the arm, began to walk
forward at a great pace; and soon, to her companion's no small joy, came
into a marked path, with the meanders of which she seemed perfectly
acquainted. Jeanie endeavoured to bring her back to the confessional, but
the fancy was gone by. In fact, the mind of this deranged being resembled
nothing so much as a quantity of dry leaves, which may for a few minutes
remain still, but are instantly discomposed and put in motion by the
first casual breath of air. She had now got John Bunyan's parable into
her head, to the exclusion of everything else, and on she went with great
volubility.

"Did ye never read the Pilgrim's Progress? And you shall be the woman,
Christiana, and I will be the maiden, Mercy--for ye ken Mercy was of the
fairer countenance, and the more alluring than her companion--and if I
had my little messan dog here, it would be Great-heart, their guide, ye
ken, for he was e'en as bauld, that he wad bark at ony thing twenty times
his size; and that was e'en the death of him, for he bit Corporal
MacAlpine's heels ae morning when they were hauling me to the
guard-house, and Corporal MacAlpine killed the bit faithfu' thing wi' his
Lochaber axe--deil pike the Highland banes o' him."

"O fie! Madge," said Jeanie, "ye should not speak such words."

"It's very true," said Madge, shaking her head; "but then I maunna think
o' my puir bit doggie, Snap, when I saw it lying dying in the gutter. But
it's just as weel, for it suffered baith cauld and hunger when it was
living, and in the grave there is rest for a' things--rest for the
doggie, and my puir bairn, and me."

"Your bairn?" said Jeanie, conceiving that by speaking on such a topic,
supposing it to be a real one, she could not fail to bring her companion
to a more composed temper.

She was mistaken, however, for Madge coloured, and replied with some
anger, "_My_ bairn? ay, to be sure, my bairn. Whatfor shouldna I hae a
bairn and lose a bairn too, as weel as your bonnie tittie, the Lily of
St. Leonard's?"

The answer struck Jeanie with some alarm, and she was anxious to soothe
the irritation she had unwittingly given occasion to. "I am very sorry
for your misfortune."

"Sorry! what wad ye be sorry for?" answered Madge. "The bairn was a
blessing--that is, Jeanie, it wad hae been a blessing if it hadna been
for my mother; but my mother's a queer woman.--Ye see, there was an auld
carle wi' a bit land, and a gude clat o' siller besides, just the very
picture of old Mr. Feeblemind or Mr. Ready-to-halt, that Great-heart
delivered from Slaygood the giant, when he was rifling him and about to
pick his bones, for Slaygood was of the nature of the flesh-eaters--and
Great-heart killed Giant Despair too--but I am doubting Giant Despair's
come alive again, for a' the story book--I find him busy at my heart
whiles."

"Weel, and so the auld carle," said Jeanie, for she was painfully
interested in getting to the truth of Madge's history, which she could
not but suspect was in some extraordinary way linked and entwined with
the fate of her sister. She was also desirous, if possible, to engage her
companion in some narrative which might be carried on in a lower tone of
voice, for she was in great apprehension lest the elevated notes of
Madge's conversation should direct her mother or the robbers in search of
them.

"And so the auld carle," said Madge, repeating her words--"I wish ye had
seen him stoiting about, aff ae leg on to the other, wi' a kind o'
dot-and-go-one sort o' motion, as if ilk ane o' his twa legs had belanged
to sindry folk--but Gentle George could take him aff brawly--Eh, as I
used to laugh to see George gang hip-hop like him!--I dinna ken, I think
I laughed heartier then than what I do now, though maybe no just sae
muckle."

"And who was Gentle George?" said Jeanie, endeavouring to bring her back
to her story.

"O, he was Geordie Robertson, ye ken, when he was in Edinburgh; but
that's no his right name neither--His name is--But what is your business
wi' his name?" said she, as if upon sudden recollection, "What have ye to
do asking for folk's names?--Have ye a mind I should scour my knife
between your ribs, as my mother says?"

As this was spoken with a menacing tone and gesture, Jeanie hastened to
protest her total innocence of purpose in the accidental question which
she had asked, and Madge Wildfire went on somewhat pacified.

"Never ask folk's names, Jeanie--it's no civil--I hae seen half-a-dozen
o' folk in my mother's at ance, and ne'er ane a' them ca'd the ither by
his name; and Daddie Ratton says, it is the most uncivil thing may be,
because the bailie bodies are aye asking fashions questions, when ye saw
sic a man, or sic a man; and if ye dinna ken their names, ye ken there
can be nae mair speerd about it."

"In what strange school," thought Jeanie to herself, "has this poor
creature been bred up, where such remote precautions are taken against
the pursuits of justice? What would my father or Reuben Butler think if I
were to tell them there are sic folk in the world? And to abuse the
simplicity of this demented creature! Oh, that I were but safe at hame
amang mine ain leal and true people! and I'll bless God, while I have
breath, that placed me amongst those who live in His fear, and under the
shadow of His wing."

She was interrupted by the insane laugh of Madge Wildfire, as she saw a
magpie hop across the path.

"See there!--that was the gate my auld joe used to cross the country, but
no just sae lightly--he hadna wings to help his auld legs, I trow; but I
behoved to have married him for a' that, Jeanie, or my mother wad hae
been the dead o' me. But then came in the story of my poor bairn, and my
mother thought he wad be deaved wi' it's skirling, and she pat it away in
below the bit bourock of turf yonder, just to be out o' the gate; and I
think she buried my best wits with it, for I have never been just mysell
since. And only think, Jeanie, after my mother had been at a' these
pains, the auld doited body Johnny Drottle turned up his nose, and wadna
hae aught to say to me! But it's little I care for him, for I have led a
merry life ever since, and ne'er a braw gentleman looks at me but ye wad
think he was gaun to drop off his horse for mere love of me. I have ken'd
some o' them put their hand in their pocket, and gie me as muckle as
sixpence at a time, just for my weel-faured face."

This speech gave Jeanie a dark insight into Madge's history. She had been
courted by a wealthy suitor, whose addresses her mother had favoured,
notwithstanding the objection of old age and deformity. She had been
seduced by some profligate, and, to conceal her shame and promote the
advantageous match she had planned, her mother had not hesitated to
destroy the offspring of their intrigue. That the consequence should be
the total derangement of amind which was constitutionally unsettled by
giddiness and vanity, was extremely natural; and such was, in fact, the
history of Madge Wildfire's insanity.



CHAPTER SEVENTH.


             So free from danger, free from fear
             They crossed the court--right glad they were.
                                            Christabel.

Pursuing the path which Madge had chosen, Jeanie Deans observed, to her
no small delight, that marks of more cultivation appeared, and the
thatched roofs of houses, with their blue smoke arising in little
columns, were seen embosomed in a tuft of trees at some distance. The
track led in that direction, and Jeanie, therefore, resolved, while Madge
continued to pursue it, that she would ask her no questions; having had
the penetration to observe, that by doing so she ran the risk of
irritating her guide, or awakening suspicions, to the impressions of
which, persons in Madge's unsettled state of mind are particularly
liable.

Madge, therefore, uninterrupted, went on with the wild disjointed chat
which her rambling imagination suggested; a mood in which she was much
more communicative respecting her own history, and that of others,
than when there was any attempt made, by direct queries, or
cross-examinations, to extract information on these subjects.

"It's a queer thing," she said, "but whiles I can speak about the bit
bairn and the rest of it, just as if it had been another body's, and no
my ain; and whiles I am like to break my heart about it--Had you ever a
bairn, Jeanie?"

Jeanie replied in the negative.

"Ay; but your sister had, though--and I ken what came o't too."

"In the name of heavenly mercy," said Jeanie, forgetting the line of
conduct which she had hitherto adopted, "tell me but what became of that
unfortunate babe, and--"

Madge stopped, looked at her gravely and fixedly, and then broke into a
great fit of laughing--"Aha, lass,--catch me if you can--I think it's
easy to gar you trow ony thing.--How suld I ken onything o' your sister's
wean? Lasses suld hae naething to do wi' weans till they are married--and
then a' the gossips and cummers come in and feast as if it were the
blithest day in the warld.--They say maidens' bairns are weel guided. I
wot that wasna true of your tittie's and mine; but these are sad tales to
tell.--I maun just sing a bit to keep up my heart--It's a sang that
Gentle George made on me lang syne, when I went with him to Lockington
wake, to see him act upon a stage, in fine clothes, with the player folk.
He might hae dune waur than married me that night as he promised--better
wed over the mixen* as over the moor, as they say in Yorkshire--

* A homely proverb, signifying better wed a neighbour than one fetched
from a distance.--Mixen signifies dunghill.

he may gang farther and fare waur--but that's a' ane to the sang,


           'I'm Madge of the country, I'm Madge of the town,
            And I'm Madge of the lad I am blithest to own--
               The Lady of Beeve in diamonds may shine,
             But has not a heart half so lightsome as mine.


             'I am Queen of the Wake, and I'm Lady of May,
             And I lead the blithe ring round the May-pole to-day;
            The wildfire that flashes so fair and so free,
               Was never so bright, or so bonny, as me.'

"I like that the best o' a' my sangs," continued the maniac, "because he
made it. I am often singing it, and that's maybe the reason folk ca' me
Madge Wildfire. I aye answer to the name, though it's no my ain, for
what's the use of making a fash?"

"But ye shouldna sing upon the Sabbath at least," said Jeanie, who, amid
all her distress and anxiety, could not help being scandalised at the
deportment of her companion, especially as they now approached near to
the little village.

"Ay! is this Sunday?" said Madge. "My mother leads sic a life, wi'
turning night into day, that ane loses a' count o' the days o' the week,
and disna ken Sunday frae Saturday. Besides, it's a' your whiggery--in
England, folk sings when they like--And then, ye ken, you are Christiana
and I am Mercy--and ye ken, as they went on their way, they sang."--And
she immediately raised one of John Bunyan's ditties:--

                  "He that is down need fear no fall,
                       He that is low no pride,
                   He that is humble ever shall
                       Have God to be his guide.


                  "Fulness to such a burthen is
                       That go on pilgrimage;
                   Here little, and hereafter bliss,
                       Is best from age to age."

"And do ye ken, Jeanie, I think there's much truth in that book, the
Pilgrim's Progress. The boy that sings that song was feeding his father's
sheep in the Valley of Humiliation, and Mr. Great-heart says, that he
lived a merrier life, and had more of the herb called heart's-ease in his
bosom, than they that wear silk and velvet like me, and are as bonny as I
am."

Jeanie Deans had never read the fanciful and delightful parable to which
Madge alluded. Bunyan was, indeed, a rigid Calvinist, but then he was
also a member of a Baptist congregation, so that his works had no place
on David Deans's shelf of divinity. Madge, however, at some time of her
life, had been well acquainted, as it appeared, with the most popular of
his performances, which, indeed, rarely fails to make a deep impression
upon children, and people of the lower rank.

"I am sure," she continued, "I may weel say I am come out of the city of
Destruction, for my mother is Mrs. Bat's-eyes, that dwells at Deadman's
corner; and Frank Levitt, and Tyburn Tam, they may be likened to Mistrust
and Guilt, that came galloping up, and struck the poor pilgrim to the
ground with a great club, and stole a bag of silver, which was most of
his spending money, and so have they done to many, and will do to more.
But now we will gang to the Interpreter's house, for I ken a man that
will play the Interpreter right weel; for he has eyes lifted up to
Heaven, the best of books in his hand, the law of truth written on his
lips, and he stands as if he pleaded wi' men--Oh, if I had minded what he
had said to me, I had never been the cutaway creature that I am!--But it
is all over now.--But we'll knock at the gate, and then the keeper will
admit Christiana, but Mercy will be left out--and then I'll stand at the
door, trembling and crying, and then Christiana--that's you, Jeanie--will
intercede for me; and then Mercy--that's me, ye ken, will faint; and then
the Interpreter--yes, the Interpreter, that's Mr. Staunton himself, will
come out and take me--that's poor, lost, demented me--by the hand, and
give me a pomegranate, and a piece of honeycomb, and a small bottle of
spirits, to stay my fainting--and then the good times will come back
again, and we'll be the happiest folk you ever saw."

In the midst of the confused assemblage of ideas indicated in this
speech, Jeanie thought she saw a serious purpose on the part of Madge, to
endeavour to obtain the pardon and countenance of some one whom she had
offended; an attempt the most likely of all others to bring them once
more into contact with law and legal protection. She, therefore, resolved
to be guided by her while she was in so hopeful a disposition, and act
for her own safety according to circumstances.

They were now close by the village, one of those beautiful scenes which
are so often found in merry England, where the cottages, instead of being
built in two direct lines on each side of a dusty high-road, stand in
detached groups, interspersed not only with large oaks and elms, but with
fruit-trees, so many of which were at this time in flourish, that the
grove seemed enamelled with their crimson and white blossoms. In the
centre of the hamlet stood the parish church, and its little Gothic
tower, from which at present was heard the Sunday chime of bells.

"We will wait here until the folk are a' in the church--they ca' the kirk
a church in England, Jeanie, be sure you mind that--for if I was gaun
forward amang them, a' the gaitts o' boys and lasses wad be crying at
Madge Wildfire's tail, the little hell-rakers! and the beadle would be as
hard upon us as if it was our fault. I like their skirting as ill as he
does, I can tell him; I'm sure I often wish there was a het peat doun
their throats when they set them up that gate."

Conscious of the disorderly appearance of her own dress after the
adventure of the preceding night, and of the grotesque habit and
demeanour of her guide, and sensible how important it was to secure an
attentive and impatient audience to her strange story from some one who
might have the means to protect her, Jeanie readily acquiesced in Madge's
proposal to rest under the trees, by which they were still somewhat
screened, until the commencement of service should give them an
opportunity of entering the hamlet without attracting a crowd around
them. She made the less opposition, that Madge had intimated that this
was not the village where her mother was in custody, and that the two
squires of the pad were absent in a different direction.

She sate herself down, therefore, at the foot of an oak, and by the
assistance of a placid fountain, which had been dammed up for the use of
the villagers, and which served her as a natural mirror, she began--no
uncommon thing with a Scottish maiden of her rank--to arrange her
toilette in the open air, and bring her dress, soiled and disordered as
it was, into such order as the place and circumstances admitted.

She soon perceived reason, however, to regret that she had set about this
task, however decent and necessary, in the present time and society.
Madge Wildfire, who, among other indications of insanity, had a most
overweening opinion of those charms, to which, in fact, she had owed her
misery, and whose mind, like a raft upon a lake, was agitated and driven
about at random by each fresh impulse, no sooner beheld Jeanie begin to
arrange her hair, place her bonnet in order, rub the dust from her shoes
and clothes, adjust her neck-handkerchief and mittans, and so forth, than
with imitative zeal she began to bedizen and trick herself out with
shreds and remnants of beggarly finery, which she took out of a little
bundle, and which, when disposed around her person, made her appearance
ten times more fantastic and apish than it had been before.

Jeanie groaned in spirit, but dared not interfere in a matter so
delicate. Across the man's cap or riding hat which she wore, Madge placed
a broken and soiled white feather, intersected with one which had been
shed from the train of a peacock. To her dress, which was a kind of
riding-habit, she stitched, pinned, and otherwise secured, a large
furbelow of artificial flowers, all crushed, wrinkled and dirty, which
had at first bedecked a lady of quality, then descended to her Abigail,
and dazzled the inmates of the servants' hall. A tawdry scarf of yellow
silk, trimmed with tinsel and spangles, which had seen as hard service,
and boasted as honourable a transmission, was next flung over one
shoulder, and fell across her person in the manner of a shoulder-belt, or
baldrick. Madge then stripped off the coarse ordinary shoes, which she
wore, and replaced them by a pair of dirty satin ones, spangled and
embroidered to match the scarf, and furnished with very high heels. She
had cut a willow switch in her morning's walk, almost as long as a boy's
fishing-rod. This she set herself seriously to peel, and when it was
transformed into such a wand as the Treasurer or High Steward bears on
public occasions, she told Jeanie that she thought they now looked
decent, as young women should do upon the Sunday morning, and that, as
the bells had done ringing, she was willing to conduct her to the
Interpreter's house.

Jeanie sighed heavily, to think it should be her lot on the Lord's day,
and during kirk time too, to parade the street of an inhabited village
with so very grotesque a comrade; but necessity had no law, since,
without a positive quarrel with the madwoman, which, in the
circumstances, would have been very unadvisable, she could see no means
of shaking herself free of her society.

As for poor Madge, she was completely elated with personal vanity, and
the most perfect satisfaction concerning her own dazzling dress, and
superior appearance. They entered the hamlet without being observed,
except by one old woman, who, being nearly "high-gravel blind," was only
conscious that something very fine and glittering was passing by, and
dropped as deep a reverence to Madge as she would have done to a
countess. This filled up the measure of Madge's self-approbation. She
minced, she ambled, she smiled, she simpered, and waved Jeanie Deans
forward with the condescension of a noble _chaperone,_ who has undertaken
the charge of a country miss on her first journey to the capital.

Jeanie followed in patience, and with her eyes fixed on the ground, that
she might save herself the mortification of seeing her companion's
absurdities; but she started when, ascending two or three steps, she
found herself in the churchyard, and saw that Madge was making straight
for the door of the church. As Jeanie had no mind to enter the
congregation in such company, she walked aside from the pathway, and said
in a decided tone, "Madge, I will wait here till the church comes
out--you may go in by yourself if you have a mind."

As she spoke these words, she was about to seat herself upon one of the
grave-stones.

Madge was a little before Jeanie when she turned aside; but, suddenly
changing her course, she followed her with long strides, and, with every
feature inflamed with passion, overtook and seized her by the arm. "Do ye
think, ye ungratefu' wretch, that I am gaun to let you sit doun upon my
father's grave? The deil settle ye doun, if ye dinna rise and come into
the Interpreter's house, that's the house of God, wi' me, but I'll rive
every dud aft your back!"

She adapted the action to the phrase; for with one clutch she stripped
Jeanie of her straw bonnet and a handful of her hair to boot, and threw
it up into an old yew-tree, where it stuck fast. Jeanie's first impulse
was to scream, but conceiving she might receive deadly harm before she
could obtain the assistance of anyone, notwithstanding the vicinity of
the church, she thought it wiser to follow the madwoman into the
congregation, where she might find some means of escape from her, or at
least be secured against her violence. But when she meekly intimated her
consent to follow Madge, her guide's uncertain brain had caught another
train of ideas. She held Jeanie fast with one hand, and with the other
pointed to the inscription on the grave-stone, and commanded her to read
it. Jeanie obeyed, and read these words:--


          "This Monument was erected to the Memory of Donald
             Murdockson of the King's xxvi., or Cameronian
          Regiment, a sincere Christian, a brave Soldier, and
           a faithful Servant, by his grateful and sorrowing
                       master, Robert Staunton."

"It's very weel read, Jeanie; it's just the very words," said Madge,
whose ire had now faded into deep melancholy, and with a step which, to
Jeanie's great joy, was uncommonly quiet and mournful, she led her
companion towards the door of the church.


[Illustration: Madge and Jennie--103]


It was one of those old-fashioned Gothic parish churches which are
frequent in England, the most cleanly, decent, and reverential places of
worship that are, perhaps, anywhere to be found in the Christian world.
Yet, notwithstanding the decent solemnity of its exterior, Jeanie was too
faithful to the directory of the Presbyterian kirk to have entered a
prelatic place of worship, and would, upon any other occasion, have
thought that she beheld in the porch the venerable figure of her father
waving her back from the entrance, and pronouncing in a solemn tone,
"Cease, my child, to hear the instruction which causeth to err from the
words of knowledge." But in her present agitating and alarming situation,
she looked for safety to this forbidden place of assembly, as the hunted
animal will sometimes seek shelter from imminent danger in the human
habitation, or in other places of refuge most alien to its nature and
habits. Not even the sound of the organ, and of one or two flutes which
accompanied the psalmody, prevented her from following her guide into the
chancel of the church.

No sooner had Madge put her foot upon the pavement, and become sensible
that she was the object of attention to the spectators, than she resumed
all the fantastic extravagance of deportment which some transient touch
of melancholy had banished for an instant. She swam rather than walked up
the centre aisle, dragging Jeanie after her, whom she held fast by the
hand. She would, indeed, have fain slipped aside into the pew nearest to
the door, and left Madge to ascend in her own manner and alone to the
high places of the synagogue; but this was impossible, without a degree
of violent resistance, which seemed to her inconsistent with the time and
place, and she was accordingly led in captivity up the whole length of
the church by her grotesque conductress, who, with half-shut eyes, a prim
smile upon her lips, and a mincing motion with her hands, which
corresponded with the delicate and affected pace at which she was pleased
to move, seemed to take the general stare of the congregation, which such
an exhibition necessarily excited, as a high compliment, and which she
returned by nods and half-courtesies to individuals amongst the audience,
whom she seemed to distinguish as acquaintances. Her absurdity was
enhanced in the eyes of the spectators by the strange contrast which she
formed to her companion, who, with dishevelled hair, downcast eyes, and a
face glowing with shame, was dragged, as it were in triumph after her.

Madge's airs were at length fortunately cut short by her encountering in
her progress the looks of the clergyman, who fixed upon her a glance, at
once steady, compassionate, and admonitory. She hastily opened an empty
pew which happened to be near her, and entered, dragging in Jeanie after
her. Kicking Jeanie on the shins, by way of hint that she should follow
her example, she sunk her head upon her hand for the space of a minute.
Jeanie, to whom this posture of mental devotion was entirely new, did not
attempt to do the like, but looked round her with a bewildered stare,
which her neighbours, judging from the company in which they saw her,
very naturally ascribed to insanity. Every person in their immediate
vicinity drew back from this extraordinary couple as far as the limits of
their pew permitted; but one old man could not get beyond Madge's reach,
ere, she had snatched the prayer-book from his hand, and ascertained the
lesson of the day. She then turned up the ritual, and with the most
overstrained enthusiasm of gesture and manner, showed Jeanie the passages
as they were read in the service, making, at the same time, her own
responses so loud as to be heard above those of every other person.

Notwithstanding the shame and vexation which Jeanie felt in being thus
exposed in a place of worship, she could not and durst not omit rallying
her spirits so as to look around her, and consider to whom she ought to
appeal for protection so soon as the service should be concluded. Her
first ideas naturally fixed upon the clergyman, and she was confirmed in
the resolution by observing that he was an aged gentleman, of a dignified
appearance and deportment, who read the service with an undisturbed and
decent gravity, which brought back to becoming attention those younger
members of the congregation who had been disturbed by the extravagant
behaviour of Madge Wildfire. To the clergyman, therefore, Jeanie resolved
to make her appeal when the service was over.

It is true she felt disposed to be shocked at his surplice, of which she
had heard so much, but which she had never seen upon the person of a
preacher of the word. Then she was confused by the change of posture
adopted in different parts of the ritual, the more so as Madge Wildfire,
to whom they seemed familiar, took the opportunity to exercise authority
over her, pulling her up and pushing her down with a bustling assiduity,
which Jeanie felt must make them both the objects of painful attention.
But, notwithstanding these prejudices, it was her prudent resolution, in
this dilemma, to imitate as nearly as she could what was done around her.
The prophet, she thought, permitted Naaman the Syrian to bow even in the
house of Rimmon. Surely if I, in this streight, worship the God of my
fathers in mine own language, although the manner thereof be strange to
me, the Lord will pardon me in this thing.

In this resolution she became so much confirmed, that, withdrawing
herself from Madge as far as the pew permitted, she endeavoured to evince
by serious and composed attention to what was passing, that her mind was
composed to devotion. Her tormentor would not long have permitted her to
remain quiet, but fatigue overpowered her, and she fell fast asleep in
the other corner of the pew.

Jeanie, though her mind in her own despite sometimes reverted to her
situation, compelled herself to give attention to a sensible, energetic,
and well-composed discourse, upon the practical doctrines of
Christianity, which she could not help approving, although it was every
word written down and read by the preacher, and although it was delivered
in a tone and gesture very different from those of Boanerges Stormheaven,
who was her father's favourite preacher. The serious and placid attention
with which Jeanie listened, did not escape the clergyman. Madge
Wildfire's entrance had rendered him apprehensive of some disturbance, to
provide against which, as far as possible, he often turned his eyes to
the part of the church where Jeanie and she were placed, and became soon
aware that, although the loss of her head-gear, and the awkwardness of
her situation, had given an uncommon and anxious air to the features of
the former, yet she was in a state of mind very different from that of
her companion. When he dismissed the congregation, he observed her look
around with a wild and terrified look, as if uncertain what course she
ought to adopt, and noticed that she approached one or two of the most
decent of the congregation, as if to address them, and then shrunk back
timidly, on observing that they seemed to shun and to avoid her. The
clergyman was satisfied there must be something extraordinary in all
this, and as a benevolent man, as well as a good Christian pastor, he
resolved to inquire into the matter more minutely.



CHAPTER EIGHTH.


               There governed in that year
               A stern, stout churl--an angry overseer.
                                             Crabbe.

While Mr. Staunton, for such was this worthy clergyman's name, was laying
aside his gown in the vestry, Jeanie was in the act of coming to an open
rupture with Madge.

"We must return to Mummer's barn directly," said Madge; "we'll be ower
late, and my mother will be angry."

"I am not going back with you, Madge," said Jeanie, taking out a guinea,
and offering it to her; "I am much obliged to you, but I maun gang my ain
road."

"And me coming a' this way out o' my gate to pleasure you, ye ungratefu'
cutty," answered Madge; "and me to be brained by my mother when I gang
hame, and a' for your sake!--But I will gar ye as good"

"For God's sake," said Jeanie to a man who stood beside them, "keep her
off!--she is mad."

"Ey, ey," answered the boor; "I hae some guess of that, and I trow thou
be'st a bird of the same feather.--Howsomever, Madge, I redd thee keep
hand off her, or I'se lend thee a whisterpoop."

Several of the lower class of the parishioners now gathered round the
strangers, and the cry arose among the boys that "there was a-going to be
a fite between mad Madge Murdockson and another Bess of Bedlam." But
while the fry assembled with the humane hope of seeing as much of the fun
as possible, the laced cocked-hat of the beadle was discerned among the
multitude, and all made way for that person of awful authority. His first
address was to Madge.

"What's brought thee back again, thou silly donnot, to plague this
parish? Hast thou brought ony more bastards wi' thee to lay to honest
men's doors? or does thou think to burden us with this goose, that's as
hare-brained as thysell, as if rates were no up enow? Away wi' thee to
thy thief of a mother; she's fast in the stocks at Barkston town-end--
Away wi' ye out o' the parish, or I'se be at ye with the ratan."

Madge stood sulky for a minute; but she had been too often taught
submission to the beadle's authority by ungentle means to feel courage
enough to dispute it.

"And my mother--my puir auld mother, is in the stocks at Barkston!--This
is a' your wyte, Miss Jeanie Deans; but I'll be upsides wi' you, as sure
as my name's Madge Wildfire--I mean Murdockson--God help me, I forget my
very name in this confused waste!"

So saying, she turned upon her heel, and went off, followed by all the
mischievous imps of the village, some crying, "Madge, canst thou tell thy
name yet?" some pulling the skirts of her dress, and all, to the best of
their strength and ingenuity, exercising some new device or other to
exasperate her into frenzy.

Jeanie saw her departure with infinite delight, though she wished that,
in some way or other, she could have requited the service Madge had
conferred upon her.

In the meantime, she applied to the beadle to know whether "there was any
house in the village where she could be civilly entertained for her
money, and whether she could be permitted to speak to the clergyman?"

"Ay, ay, we'se ha' reverend care on thee; and I think," answered the man
of constituted authority, "that, unless thou answer the Rector all the
better, we'se spare thy money, and gie thee lodging at the parish charge,
young woman."

"Where am I to go then?" said Jeanie, in some alarm.

"Why, I am to take thee to his Reverence, in the first place, to gie an
account o' thysell, and to see thou comena to be a burden upon the
parish."

"I do not wish to burden anyone," replied Jeanie; "I have enough for my
own wants, and only wish to get on my journey safely."

"Why, that's another matter," replied the beadle, "and if it be true--and
I think thou dost not look so polrumptious as thy playfellow yonder--Thou
wouldst be a mettle lass enow, an thou wert snog and snod a bid better.
Come thou away, then--the Rector is a good man."

"Is that the minister," said Jeanie, "who preached"

"The minister? Lord help thee! What kind o' Presbyterian art thou?--Why,
'tis the Rector--the Rector's sell, woman, and there isna the like o' him
in the county, nor the four next to it. Come away--away with thee--we
maunna bide here."

"I am sure I am very willing to go to see the minister," said Jeanie;
"for though he read his discourse, and wore that surplice, as they call
it here, I canna but think he must be a very worthy God-fearing man, to
preach the root of the matter in the way he did."

The disappointed rabble, finding that there was like to be no farther
sport, had by this time dispersed, and Jeanie, with her usual patience,
followed her consequential and surly, but not brutal, conductor towards
the rectory.

This clerical mansion was large and commodious, for the living was an
excellent one, and the advowson belonged to a very wealthy family in the
neighbourhood, who had usually bred up a son or nephew to the church for
the sake of inducting him, as opportunity offered, into this very
comfortable provision. In this manner the rectory of Willingham had
always been considered as a direct and immediate appanage of Willingham
Hall; and as the rich baronets to whom the latter belonged had usually a
son, or brother, or nephew, settled in the living, the utmost care had
been taken to render their habitation not merely respectable and
commodious, but even dignified and imposing.

It was situated about four hundred yards from the village, and on a
rising ground which sloped gently upward, covered with small enclosures,
or closes, laid out irregularly, so that the old oaks and elms, which
were planted in hedge-rows, fell into perspective, and were blended
together in beautiful irregularity. When they approached nearer to the
house, a handsome gateway admitted them into a lawn, of narrow dimensions
indeed, but which was interspersed with large sweet chestnut trees and
beeches, and kept in handsome order. The front of the house was
irregular. Part of it seemed very old, and had, in fact, been the
residence of the incumbent in Romish times. Successive occupants had made
considerable additions and improvements, each in the taste of his own
age, and without much regard to symmetry. But these incongruities of
architecture were so graduated and happily mingled, that the eye, far
from being displeased with the combinations of various styles, saw
nothing but what was interesting in the varied and intricate pile which
they displayed. Fruit-trees displayed on the southern wall, outer
staircases, various places of entrance, a combination of roofs and
chimneys of different ages, united to render the front, not indeed
beautiful or grand, but intricate, perplexed, or, to use Mr. Price's
appropriate phrase, picturesque. The most considerable addition was that
of the present Rector, who, "being a bookish man," as the beadle was at
the pains to inform Jeanie, to augment, perhaps, her reverence for the
person before whom she was to appear, had built a handsome library and
parlour, and no less than two additional bedrooms.

"Mony men would hae scrupled such expense," continued the parochial
officer, "seeing as the living mun go as it pleases Sir Edmund to will
it; but his Reverence has a canny bit land of his own, and need not look
on two sides of a penny."

Jeanie could not help comparing the irregular yet extensive and
commodious pile of building before her to the "Manses" in her own
country, where a set of penurious heritors, professing all the while the
devotion of their lives and fortunes to the Presbyterian establishment,
strain their inventions to discover what may be nipped, and clipped, and
pared from a building which forms but a poor accommodation even for the
present incumbent, and, despite the superior advantage of stone-masonry,
must, in the course of forty or fifty years, again burden their
descendants with an expense, which, once liberally and handsomely
employed, ought to have freed their estates from a recurrence of it for
more than a century at least.

Behind the Rector's house the ground sloped down to a small river, which,
without possessing the romantic vivacity and rapidity of a northern
stream, was, nevertheless, by its occasional appearance through the
ranges of willows and poplars that crowned its banks, a very pleasing
accompaniment to the landscape. "It was the best trouting stream," said
the beadle, whom the patience of Jeanie, and especially the assurance
that she was not about to become a burden to the parish, had rendered
rather communicative, "the best trouting stream in all Lincolnshire; for
when you got lower, there was nought to be done wi' fly-fishing."

Turning aside from the principal entrance, he conducted Jeanie towards a
sort of portal connected with the older part of the building, which was
chiefly occupied by servants, and knocking at the door, it was opened by
a servant in grave purple livery, such as befitted a wealthy and
dignified clergyman.

"How dost do, Tummas?" said the beadle--"and how's young Measter
Staunton?"

"Why, but poorly--but poorly, Measter Stubbs.--Are you wanting to see his
Reverence?"

"Ay, ay, Tummas; please to say I ha' brought up the young woman as came
to service to-day with mad Madge Murdockson seems to be a decentish koind
o' body; but I ha' asked her never a question. Only I can tell his
Reverence that she is a Scotchwoman, I judge, and as flat as the fens of
Holland."

Tummas honoured Jeanie Deans with such a stare, as the pampered domestics
of the rich, whether spiritual or temporal, usually esteem it part of
their privilege to bestow upon the poor, and then desired Mr. Stubbs and
his charge to step in till he informed his master of their presence.

The room into which he showed them was a sort of steward's parlour, hung
with a county map or two, and three or four prints of eminent persons
connected with the county, as Sir William Monson, James York the
blacksmith of Lincoln,* and the famous Peregrine, Lord Willoughby, in
complete armour, looking as when he said in the words of the legend below
the engraving,--

* [Author of the _Union of Honour,_ a treatise on English Heraldry.
London, 1641.]

                  "Stand to it, noble pikemen,
                        And face ye well about;
                   And shoot ye sharp, bold bowmen,
                       And we will keep them out.

                 "Ye musquet and calliver-men,
                       Do you prove true to me,
                  I'll be the foremost man in fight,
                       Said brave Lord Willoughbee."


[Illustration: A "Summat" to Eat and Drink--113]


When they had entered this apartment, Tummas as a matter of course
offered, and as a matter of course Mr. Stubbs accepted, a "summat" to eat
and drink, being the respectable relies of a gammon of bacon, and a
_whole whiskin,_ or black pot of sufficient double ale. To these eatables
Mr. Beadle seriously inclined himself, and (for we must do him justice)
not without an invitation to Jeanie, in which Tummas joined, that his
prisoner or charge would follow his good example. But although she might
have stood in need of refreshment, considering she had tasted no food
that day, the anxiety of the moment, her own sparing and abstemious
habits, and a bashful aversion to eat in company of the two strangers,
induced her to decline their courtesy. So she sate in a chair apart,
while Mr. Stubbs and Mr. Tummas, who had chosen to join his friend in
consideration that dinner was to be put back till after the afternoon
service, made a hearty luncheon, which lasted for half-an-hour, and might
not then have concluded, had not his Reverence rung his bell, so that
Tummas was obliged to attend his master. Then, and no sooner, to save
himself the labour of a second journey to the other end of the house, he
announced to his master the arrival of Mr. Stubbs, with the other
madwoman, as he chose to designate Jeanie, as an event which had just
taken place. He returned with an order that Mr. Stubbs and the young
woman should be instantly ushered up to the library. The beadle bolted in
haste his last mouthful of fat bacon, washed down the greasy morsel with
the last rinsings of the pot of ale, and immediately marshalled Jeanie
through one or two intricate passages which led from the ancient to the
more modern buildings, into a handsome little hall, or anteroom,
adjoining to the library, and out of which a glass door opened to the
lawn.

"Stay here," said Stubbs, "till I tell his Reverence you are come."

So saying, he opened a door and entered the library. Without wishing to
hear their conversation, Jeanie, as she was circumstanced, could not
avoid it; for as Stubbs stood by the door, and his Reverence was at the
upper end of a large room, their conversation was necessarily audible in
the anteroom.

"So you have brought the young woman here at last, Mr. Stubbs. I expected
you some time since. You know I do not wish such persons to remain in
custody a moment without some inquiry into their situation."

"Very true, your Reverence," replied the beadle; "but the young woman had
eat nought to-day, and so Measter Tummas did set down a drap of drink and
a morsel, to be sure."

"Thomas was very right, Mr. Stubbs; and what has, become of the other
most unfortunate being?"

"Why," replied Mr. Stubbs, "I did think the sight on her would but vex
your Reverence, and soa I did let her go her ways back to her mother, who
is in trouble in the next parish."

"In trouble!--that signifies in prison, I suppose?" said Mr. Staunton.

"Ay, truly; something like it, an it like your Reverence."

"Wretched, unhappy, incorrigible woman!" said the clergyman. "And what
sort of person is this companion of hers?"

"Why, decent enow, an it like your Reverence," said Stubbs; "for aught I
sees of her, there's no harm of her, and she says she has cash enow to
carry her out of the county."

"Cash! that is always what you think of, Stubbs--But, has she sense?--has
she her wits?--has she the capacity of taking care of herself?"

"Why, your Reverence," replied Stubbs, "I cannot just say--I will be
sworn she was not born at Witt-ham;* for Gaffer Gibbs looked at her all
the time of service, and he says, she could not turn up a single lesson
like a Christian, even though she had Madge Murdockson to help her--but
then, as to fending for herself, why, she's a bit of a Scotchwoman, your
Reverence, and they say the worst donnot of them can look out for their
own turn--and she is decently put on enow, and not bechounched like
t'other."

* A proverbial and punning expression in that county, to intimate that a
person is not very clever.

"Send her in here, then, and do you remain below, Mr. Stubbs."

This colloquy had engaged Jeanie's attention so deeply, that it was not
until it was over that she observed that the sashed door, which, we have
said, led from the anteroom into the garden, was opened, and that there
entered, or rather was borne in by two assistants, a young man, of a very
pale and sickly appearance, whom they lifted to the nearest couch, and
placed there, as if to recover from the fatigue of an unusual exertion.
Just as they were making this arrangement, Stubbs came out of the
library, and summoned Jeanie to enter it. She obeyed him, not without
tremor; for, besides the novelty of the situation, to a girl of her
secluded habits, she felt also as if the successful prosecution of her
journey was to depend upon the impression she should be able to make on
Mr. Staunton.

It is true, it was difficult to suppose on what pretext a person
travelling on her own business, and at her own charge, could be
interrupted upon her route. But the violent detention she had already
undergone, was sufficient to show that there existed persons at no great
distance who had the interest, the inclination, and the audacity,
forcibly to stop her journey, and she felt the necessity of having some
countenance and protection, at least till she should get beyond their
reach. While these things passed through her mind, much faster than our
pen and ink can record, or even the reader's eye collect the meaning of
its traces, Jeanie found herself in a handsome library, and in presence
of the Rector of Willingham. The well-furnished presses and shelves which
surrounded the large and handsome apartment, contained more books than
Jeanie imagined existed in the world, being accustomed to consider as an
extensive collection two fir shelves, each about three feet long, which
contained her father's treasured volumes, the whole pith and marrow, as
he used sometimes to boast, of modern divinity. An orrery, globes, a
telescope, and some other scientific implements, conveyed to Jeanie an
impression of admiration and wonder, not unmixed with fear; for, in her
ignorant apprehension, they seemed rather adapted for magical purposes
than any other; and a few stuffed animals (as the Rector was fond of
natural history) added to the impressive character of the apartment.

Mr. Staunton spoke to her with great mildness. He observed, that,
although her appearance at church had been uncommon, and in strange, and
he must add, discreditable society, and calculated, upon the whole, to
disturb the congregation during divine worship, he wished, nevertheless,
to hear her own account of herself before taking any steps which his duty
might seem to demand. He was a justice of peace, he informed her, as well
as a clergyman.

"His Honour" (for she would not say his Reverence) "was very civil and
kind," was all that poor Jeanie could at first bring out.

"Who are you, young woman?" said the clergyman, more peremptorily--"and
what do you do in this country, and in such company?--We allow no
strollers or vagrants here."

"I am not a vagrant or a stroller, sir," said Jeanie, a little roused by
the supposition. "I am a decent Scots lass, travelling through the land
on my own business and my own expenses and I was so unhappy as to fall in
with bad company, and was stopped a' night on my journey. And this puir
creature, who is something light-headed, let me out in the morning."

"Bad company!" said the clergyman. "I am afraid, young woman, you have
not been sufficiently anxious to avoid them."

"Indeed, sir," returned Jeanie, "I have been brought up to shun evil
communication. But these wicked people were thieves, and stopped me by
violence and mastery."

"Thieves!" said Mr. Staunton; "then you charge them with robbery, I
suppose?"

"No, sir; they did not take so much as a boddle from me," answered
Jeanie; "nor did they use me ill, otherwise than by confining me."

The clergyman inquired into the particulars of her adventure, which she
told him from point to point.

"This is an extraordinary, and not a very probable tale, young woman,"
resumed Mr. Staunton. "Here has been, according to your account, a great
violence committed without any adequate motive. Are you aware of the law
of this country--that if you lodge this charge, you will be bound over to
prosecute this gang?"

Jeanie did not understand him, and he explained, that the English law, in
addition to the inconvenience sustained by persons who have been robbed
or injured, has the goodness to intrust to them the care and the expense
of appearing as prosecutors.

Jeanie said, "that her business at London was express; all she wanted
was, that any gentleman would, out of Christian charity, protect her to
some town where she could hire horses and a guide; and finally," she
thought, "it would be her father's mind that she was not free to give
testimony in an English court of justice, as the land was not under a
direct gospel dispensation."

Mr. Staunton stared a little, and asked if her father was a Quaker.

"God forbid, sir," said Jeanie--"He is nae schismatic nor sectary, nor
ever treated for sic black commodities as theirs, and that's weel kend o'
him."

"And what is his name, pray?" said Mr. Staunton.

"David Deans, sir, the cowfeeder at Saint Leonard's Crags, near
Edinburgh."

A deep groan from the anteroom prevented the Rector from replying, and,
exclaiming, "Good God! that unhappy boy!" he left Jeanie alone, and
hastened into the outer apartment.

Some noise and bustle was heard, but no one entered the library for the
best part of an hour.



CHAPTER NINTH.


                 Fantastic passions' maddening brawl!
                     And shame and terror over all!
                 Deeds to be hid which were not hid,
                 Which, all confused, I could not know
                     Whether I suffer'd or I did,
                 For all seem'd guilt, remorse, or woe;
                     My own, or others, still the same
                 Life-stifling fear, soul-stifling shame.
                                         Coleridge.

During the interval while she was thus left alone, Jeanie anxiously
revolved in her mind what course was best for her to pursue. She was
impatient to continue her journey, yet she feared she could not safely
adventure to do so while the old hag and her assistants were in the
neighbourhood, without risking a repetition of their violence. She
thought she could collect from the conversation which she had partly
overheard, and also from the wild confessions of Madge Wildfire, that her
mother had a deep and revengeful motive for obstructing her journey if
possible. And from whom could she hope for assistance if not from Mr.
Staunton? His whole appearance and demeanour seemed to encourage her
hopes. His features were handsome, though marked with a deep cast of
melancholy; his tone and language were gentle and encouraging; and, as he
had served in the army for several years during his youth, his air
retained that easy frankness which is peculiar to the profession of arms.
He was, besides, a minister of the gospel; and, although a worshipper,
according to Jeanie's notions, in the court of the Gentiles, and so
benighted as to wear a surplice; although he read the Common Prayer, and
wrote down every word of his sermon before delivering it; and although he
was, moreover, in strength of lungs, as well as pith and marrow of
doctrine, vastly inferior to Boanerges Stormheaven, Jeanie still thought
he must be a very different person from Curate Kilstoup, and other
prelatical divines of her father's earlier days, who used to get drunk in
their canonical dress, and hound out the dragoons against the wandering
Cameronians. The house seemed to be in some disturbance, but as she could
not suppose she was altogether forgotten, she thought it better to remain
quiet in the apartment where she had been left, till some one should take
notice of her.

The first who entered was, to her no small delight, one of her own sex, a
motherly-looking aged person of a housekeeper. To her Jeanie explained
her situation in a few words, and begged her assistance.

The dignity of a housekeeper did not encourage too much familiarity with
a person who was at the Rectory on justice-business, and whose character
might seem in her eyes somewhat precarious; but she was civil, although
distant.

"Her young master," she said, "had had a bad accident by a fall from his
horse, which made him liable to fainting fits; he had been taken very ill
just now, and it was impossible his Reverence could see Jeanie for some
time; but that she need not fear his doing all that was just and proper
in her behalf the instant he could get her business attended to."--She
concluded by offering to show Jeanie a room, where she might remain till
his Reverence was at leisure.

Our heroine took the opportunity to request the means of adjusting and
changing her dress.

The housekeeper, in whose estimation order and cleanliness ranked high
among personal virtues, gladly complied with a request so reasonable; and
the change of dress which Jeanie's bundle furnished made so important an
improvement in her appearance, that the old lady hardly knew the soiled
and disordered traveller, whose attire showed the violence she had
sustained, in the neat, clean, quiet-looking little Scotch-woman, who now
stood before her. Encouraged by such a favourable alteration in her
appearance, Mrs. Dalton ventured to invite Jeanie to partake of her
dinner, and was equally pleased with the decent propriety of her conduct
during the meal.

"Thou canst read this book, canst thou, young woman?" said the old lady,
when their meal was concluded, laying her hand upon a large Bible.

"I hope sae, madam," said Jeanie, surprised at the question "my father
wad hae wanted mony a thing ere I had wanted _that_ schuling."

"The better sign of him, young woman. There are men here, well to pass in
the world, would not want their share of a Leicester plover, and that's a
bag-pudding, if fasting for three hours would make all their poor
children read the Bible from end to end. Take thou the book, then, for my
eyes are something dazed, and read where thou listest--it's the only book
thou canst not happen wrong in."

Jeanie was at first tempted to turn up the parable of the good Samaritan,
but her conscience checked her, as if it were a use of Scripture, not for
her own edification, but to work upon the mind of others for the relief
of her worldly afflictions; and under this scrupulous sense of duty, she
selected, in preference, a
CHAPTER of the prophet Isaiah, and read it,
notwithstanding her northern' accent and tone, with a devout propriety,
which greatly edified Mrs. Dalton.

"Ah," she said, "an all Scotchwomen were sic as thou but it was our luck
to get born devils of thy country, I think--every one worse than t'other.
If thou knowest of any tidy lass like thysell that wanted a place, and
could bring a good character, and would not go laiking about to wakes and
fairs, and wore shoes and stockings all the day round--why, I'll not say
but we might find room for her at the Rectory. Hast no cousin or sister,
lass, that such an offer would suit?"

This was touching upon a sore point, but Jeanie was spared the pain of
replying by the entrance of the same man-servant she had seen before.

"Measter wishes to see the young woman from Scotland," was Tummas's
address.

"Go to his Reverence, my dear, as fast as you can, and tell him all your
story--his Reverence is a kind man," said Mrs. Dalton. "I will fold down
the leaf, and wake you a cup of tea, with some nice muffin, against you
come down, and that's what you seldom see in Scotland, girl."

"Measter's waiting for the young woman," said Tummas impatiently.

"Well, Mr. Jack-Sauce, and what is your business to put in your oar?--And
how often must I tell you to call Mr. Staunton his Reverence, seeing as
he is a dignified clergyman, and not be meastering, meastering him, as if
he were a little petty squire?"

As Jeanie was now at the door, and ready to accompany Tummas, the footman
said nothing till he got into the passage, when he muttered, "There are
moe masters than one in this house, and I think we shall have a mistress
too, an Dame Dalton carries it thus."

Tummas led the way through a more intricate range of passages than Jeanie
had yet threaded, and ushered her into an apartment which was darkened by
the closing of most of the window-shutters, and in which was a bed with
the curtains partly drawn.

"Here is the young woman, sir," said Tummas.

"Very well," said a voice from the bed, but not that of his Reverence;
"be ready to answer the bell, and leave the room."

"There is some mistake," said Jeanie, confounded at finding herself in
the apartment of an invalid; "the servant told me that the minister--"

"Don't trouble yourself," said the invalid, "there is no mistake. I know
more of your affairs than my father, and I can manage them better.--Leave
the room, Tom." The servant obeyed.--"We must not," said the invalid,
"lose time, when we have little to lose. Open the shutters of that
window."

She did so, and as he drew aside the curtain of his bed, the light fell
on his pale countenance, as, turban'd with bandages, and dressed in a
night-gown, he lay, seemingly exhausted, upon the bed.

"Look at me," he said, "Jeanie Deans; can you not recollect me?"

"No, sir," said she, full of surprise. "I was never in this country
before."

"But I may have been in yours. Think--recollect. I should faint did I
name the name you are most dearly bound to loathe and to detest.
Think--remember!"

A terrible recollection flashed on Jeanie, which every tone of the
speaker confirmed, and which his next words rendered certainty.

"Be composed--remember Muschat's Cairn, and the moonlight night!"

Jeanie sunk down on a chair with clasped hands, and gasped in agony.

"Yes, here I lie," he said, "like a crushed snake, writhing with
impatience at my incapacity of motion--here I lie, when I ought to have
been in Edinburgh, trying every means to save a life that is dearer to me
than my own.--How is your sister?--how fares it with her?--condemned to
death, I know it, by this time! O, the horse that carried me safely on a
thousand errands of folly and wickedness, that he should have broke down
with me on the only good mission I have undertaken for years! But I must
rein in my passion--my frame cannot endure it, and I have much to say.
Give me some of the cordial which stands on that table.--Why do you
tremble? But you have too good cause.--Let it stand--I need it not."

Jeanie, however reluctant, approached him with the cup into which she had
poured the draught, and could not forbear saying, "There is a cordial for
the mind, sir, if the wicked will turn from their transgressions, and
seek to the Physician of souls."

"Silence!" he said sternly--"and yet I thank you. But tell me, and lose
no time in doing so, what you are doing in this country? Remember, though
I have been your sister's worst enemy, yet I will serve her with the best
of my blood, and I will serve you for her sake; and no one can serve you
to such purpose, for no one can know the circumstances so well--so speak
without fear."

"I am not afraid, sir," said Jeanie, collecting her spirits. "I trust in
God; and if it pleases Him to redeem my sister's captivity, it is all I
seek, whosoever be the instrument. But, sir, to be plain with you, I dare
not use your counsel, unless I were enabled to see that it accords with
the law which I must rely upon."

"The devil take the Puritan!" cried George Staunton, for so we must now
call him--"I beg your pardon; but I am naturally impatient, and you drive
me mad! What harm can it possibly do to tell me in what situation your
sister stands, and your own expectations of being able to assist her? It
is time enough to refuse my advice when I offer any which you may think
improper. I speak calmly to you, though 'tis against my nature; but don't
urge me to impatience--it will only render me incapable of serving
Effie."

There was in the looks and words of this unhappy young man a sort of
restrained eagerness and impetuosity which seemed to prey upon itself, as
the impatience of a fiery steed fatigues itself with churning upon the
bit. After a moment's consideration, it occurred to Jeanie that she was
not entitled to withhold from him, whether on her sister's account or her
own, the fatal account of the consequences of the crime which he had
committed, nor to reject such advice, being in itself lawful and
innocent, as he might be able to suggest in the way of remedy.
Accordingly, in as few words as she could express it, she told the
history of her sister's trial and condemnation, and of her own journey as
far as Newark. He appeared to listen in the utmost agony of mind, yet
repressed every violent symptom of emotion, whether by gesture or sound,
which might have interrupted the speaker, and, stretched on his couch
like the Mexican monarch on his bed of live coals, only the contortions
of his cheek, and the quivering of his limbs, gave indication of his
sufferings. To much of what she said he listened with stifled groans, as
if he were only hearing those miseries confirmed, whose fatal reality he
had known before; but when she pursued her tale through the circumstances
which had interrupted her journey, extreme surprise and earnest attention
appeared to succeed to the symptoms of remorse which he had before
exhibited. He questioned Jeanie closely concerning the appearance of the
two men, and the conversation which she had overheard between the taller
of them and the woman.

When Jeanie mentioned the old woman having alluded to her foster-son--"It
is too true," he said; "and the source from which I derived food, when an
infant, must have communicated to me the wretched--the fated--propensity
to vices that were strangers in my own family.--But go on."

Jeanie passed slightly over her journey in company with Madge, having no
inclination to repeat what might be the effect of mere raving on the part
of her companion, and therefore her tale was now closed.

Young Staunton lay for a moment in profound meditation and at length
spoke with more composure than he had yet displayed during their
interview.--"You are a sensible, as well as a good young woman, Jeanie
Deans, and I will tell you more of my story than I have told to any one.--
Story did I call it?--it is a tissue of folly, guilt, and misery.--But
take notice--I do it because I desire your confidence in return--that is,
that you will act in this dismal matter by my advice and direction.
Therefore do I speak."

"I will do what is fitting for a sister, and a daughter, and a Christian
woman to do," said Jeanie; "but do not tell me any of your secrets.--It
is not good that I should come into your counsel, or listen to the
doctrine which causeth to err."

"Simple fool!" said the young man. "Look at me. My head is not horned, my
foot is not cloven, my hands are not garnished with talons; and, since I
am not the very devil himself, what interest can any one else have in
destroying the hopes with which you comfort or fool yourself? Listen to
me patiently, and you will find that, when you have heard my counsel, you
may go to the seventh heaven with it in your pocket, if you have a mind,
and not feel yourself an ounce heavier in the ascent."

At the risk of being somewhat heavy, as explanations usually prove, we
must here endeavour to combine into a distinct narrative, information
which the invalid communicated in a manner at once too circumstantial,
and too much broken by passion, to admit of our giving his precise words.
Part of it indeed he read from a manuscript, which he had perhaps drawn
up for the information of his relations after his decease.

"To make my tale short--this wretched hag--this Margaret Murdockson, was
the wife of a favourite servant of my father--she had been my nurse--her
husband was dead--she resided in a cottage near this place--she had a
daughter who grew up, and was then a beautiful but very giddy girl; her
mother endeavoured to promote her marriage with an old and wealthy churl
in the neighbourhood--the girl saw me frequently--She was familiar with
me, as our connection seemed to permit--and I--in a word, I wronged her
cruelly--It was not so bad as your sister's business, but it was
sufficiently villanous--her folly should have been her protection. Soon
after this I was sent abroad--To do my father justice, if I have turned
out a fiend it is not his fault--he used the best means. When I returned,
I found the wretched mother and daughter had fallen into disgrace, and
were chased from this country.--My deep share in their shame and misery
was discovered--my father used very harsh language--we quarrelled. I left
his house, and led a life of strange adventure, resolving never again to
see my father or my father's home.

"And now comes the story!--Jeanie, I put my life into your hands, and not
only my own life, which, God knows, is not worth saving, but the
happiness of a respectable old man, and the honour of a family of
consideration. My love of low society, as such propensities as I was
cursed with are usually termed, was, I think of an uncommon kind, and
indicated a nature, which, if not depraved by early debauchery, would
have been fit for better things. I did not so much delight in the wild
revel, the low humour, the unconfined liberty of those with whom I
associated as in the spirit of adventure, presence of mind in peril, and
sharpness of intellect which they displayed in prosecuting their
maraudings upon the revenue, or similar adventures.--Have you looked
round this rectory?--is it not a sweet and pleasant retreat?"

Jeanie, alarmed at this sudden change of subject, replied in the
affirmative.

"Well! I wish it had been ten thousand fathoms under ground, with its
church-lands, and tithes, and all that belongs to it. Had it not been for
this cursed rectory, I should have been permitted to follow the bent of
my own inclinations and the profession of arms, and half the courage and
address that I have displayed among smugglers and deer-stealers would
have secured me an honourable rank among my contemporaries. Why did I not
go abroad when I left this house!--Why did I leave it at all!--why--But
it came to that point with me that it is madness to look back, and misery
to look forward!"

He paused, and then proceeded with more composure.

"The chances of a wandering life brought me unhappily to Scotland, to
embroil myself in worse and more criminal actions than I had yet been
concerned in. It was now I became acquainted with Wilson, a remarkable
man in his station of life; quiet, composed, and resolute, firm in mind,
and uncommonly strong in person, gifted with a sort of rough eloquence
which raised him above his companions. Hitherto I had been

               As dissolute as desperate, yet through both
               Were seen some sparkles of a better hope.

"But it was this man's misfortune, as well as mine, that, notwithstanding
the difference of our rank and education, he acquired an extraordinary
and fascinating influence over me, which I can only account for by the
calm determination of his character being superior to the less sustained
impetuosity of mine. Where he led I felt myself bound to follow; and
strange was the courage and address which he displayed in his pursuits.
While I was engaged in desperate adventures, under so strange and
dangerous a preceptor, I became acquainted with your unfortunate sister
at some sports of the young people in the suburbs, which she frequented
by stealth--and her ruin proved an interlude to the tragic scenes in
which I was now deeply engaged. Yet this let me say--the villany was not
premeditated, and I was firmly resolved to do her all the justice which
marriage could do, so soon as I should be able to extricate myself from
my unhappy course of life, and embrace some one more suited to my birth.
I had wild visions--visions of conducting her as if to some poor retreat,
and introducing her at once to rank and fortune she never dreamt of. A
friend, at my request, attempted a negotiation with my father, which was
protracted for some time, and renewed at different intervals. At length,
and just when I expected my father's pardon, he learned by some means or
other my infamy, painted in even exaggerated colours, which was, God
knows, unnecessary. He wrote me a letter--how it found me out I know
not--enclosing me a sum of money, and disowning me for ever. I became
desperate--I became frantic--I readily joined Wilson in a perilous
smuggling adventure in which we miscarried, and was willingly blinded by
his logic to consider the robbery of the officer of the customs in Fife
as a fair and honourable reprisal. Hitherto I had observed a certain line
in my criminality, and stood free of assaults upon personal property, but
now I felt a wild pleasure in disgracing myself as much as possible.

"The plunder was no object to me. I abandoned that to my comrades, and
only asked the post of danger. I remember well that when I stood with my
drawn sword guarding the door while they committed the felony, I had not
a thought of my own safety. I was only meditating on my sense of supposed
wrong from my family, my impotent thirst of vengeance, and how it would
sound in the haughty cars of the family of Willingham, that one of their
descendants, and the heir apparent of their honours, should perish by the
hands of the hangman for robbing a Scottish gauger of a sum not equal to
one-fifth part of the money I had in my pocket-book. We were taken--I
expected no less. We were condemned--that also I looked for. But death,
as he approached nearer, looked grimly; and the recollection of your
sister's destitute condition determined me on an effort to save my life.--
I forgot to tell you, that in Edinburgh I again met the woman
Murdockson and her daughter. She had followed the camp when young, and
had now, under pretence of a trifling traffic, resumed predatory habits,
with which she had already been too familiar. Our first meeting was
stormy; but I was liberal of what money I had, and she forgot, or seemed
to forget, the injury her daughter had received. The unfortunate girl
herself seemed hardly even to know her seducer, far less to retain any
sense of the injury she had received. Her mind is totally alienated,
which, according to her mother's account, is sometimes the consequence of
an unfavourable confinement. But it was _my doing._ Here was another
stone knitted round my neck to sink me into the pit of perdition. Every
look--every word of this poor creature--her false spirits--her imperfect
recollections--her allusions to things which she had forgotten, but which
were recorded in my conscience, were stabs of a poniard--stabs did I
say?--they were tearing with hot pincers, and scalding the raw wound with
burning sulphur--they were to be endured however, and they were endured.--
I return to my prison thoughts.

"It was not the least miserable of them that your sister's time
approached. I knew her dread of you and of her father. She often said she
would die a thousand deaths ere you should know her shame--yet her
confinement must be provided for. I knew this woman Murdockson was an
infernal hag, but I thought she loved me, and that money would make her
true. She had procured a file for Wilson, and a spring-saw for me; and
she undertook readily to take charge of Effie during her illness, in
which she had skill enough to give the necessary assistance. I gave her
the money which my father had sent me. It was settled that she should
receive Effie into her house in the meantime, and wait for farther
directions from me, when I should effect my escape. I communicated this
purpose, and recommended the old hag to poor Effie by a letter, in which
I recollect that I endeavoured to support the character of Macheath under
condemnation-a fine, gay, bold-faced ruffian, who is game to the last.
Such, and so wretchedly poor, was my ambition! Yet I had resolved to
forsake the courses I had been engaged in, should I be so fortunate as to
escape the gibbet. My design was to marry your sister, and go over to the
West Indies. I had still a considerable sum of money left, and I trusted
to be able, in one way or other, to provide for myself and my wife.

"We made the attempt to escape, and by the obstinacy of Wilson, who
insisted upon going first, it totally miscarried. The undaunted and
self-denied manner in which he sacrificed himself to redeem his error,
and accomplish my escape from the Tolbooth Church, you must have heard
of--all Scotland rang with it. It was a gallant and extraordinary
deed--All men spoke of it--all men, even those who most condemned the
habits and crimes of this self-devoted man, praised the heroism of his
friendship. I have many vices, but cowardice or want of gratitude, are
none of the number. I resolved to requite his generosity, and even your
sister's safety became a secondary consideration with me for the time.
To effect Wilson's liberation was my principal object, and I doubted not
to find the means.

"Yet I did not forget Effie neither. The bloodhounds of the law were so
close after me, that I dared not trust myself near any of my old haunts,
but old Murdockson met me by appointment, and informed me that your
sister had happily been delivered of a boy. I charged the hag to keep her
patient's mind easy, and let her want for nothing that money could
purchase, and I retreated to Fife, where, among my old associates of
Wilson's gang, I hid myself in those places of concealment where the men
engaged in that desperate trade are used to find security for themselves
and their uncustomed goods. Men who are disobedient both to human and
divine laws are not always insensible to the claims of courage and
generosity. We were assured that the mob of Edinburgh, strongly moved
with the hardship of Wilson's situation, and the gallantry of his
conduct, would back any bold attempt that might be made to rescue him
even from the foot of the gibbet. Desperate as the attempt seemed, upon
my declaring myself ready to lead the onset on the guard, I found no want
of followers who engaged to stand by me, and returned to Lothian, soon
followed by some steady associates, prepared to act whenever the occasion
might require.

"I have no doubt I should have rescued him from the very noose that
dangled over his head," he continued with animation, which seemed a flash
of the interest which he had taken in such exploits; "but amongst other
precautions, the magistrates had taken one, suggested, as we afterwards
learned, by the unhappy wretch Porteous, which effectually disconcerted
my measures. They anticipated, by half-an-hour, the ordinary period for
execution; and, as it had been resolved amongst us, that, for fear of
observation from the officers of justice, we should not show ourselves
upon the street until the time of action approached, it followed, that
all was over before our attempt at a rescue commenced. It did commence,
however, and I gained the scaffold and cut the rope with my own hand. It
was too late! The bold, stouthearted, generous criminal was no more--and
vengeance was all that remained to us--a vengeance, as I then thought,
doubly due from my hand, to whom Wilson had given life and liberty when
he could as easily have secured his own."

"O sir," said Jeanie, "did the Scripture never come into your mind,
'Vengeance is mine, and I will repay it?'"

"Scripture! Why, I had not opened a Bible for five years," answered
Staunton.

"Wae's me, sirs," said Jeanie--"and a minister's son too!"

"It is natural for you to say so; yet do not interrupt me, but let me
finish my most accursed history. The beast, Porteous, who kept firing on
the people long after it had ceased to be necessary, became the object of
their hatred for having overdone his duty, and of mine for having done it
too well. We that is, I and the other determined friends of Wilson,
resolved to be avenged--but caution was necessary. I thought I had been
marked by one of the officers, and therefore continued to lurk about the
vicinity of Edinburgh, but without daring to venture within the walls. At
length I visited, at the hazard of my life, the place where I hoped to
find my future wife and my son--they were both gone. Dame Murdockson
informed me, that so soon as Effie heard of the miscarriage of the
attempt to rescue Wilson, and the hot pursuit after me, she fell into a
brain fever; and that being one day obliged to go out on some necessary
business and leave her alone, she had taken that opportunity to escape,
and she had not seen her since. I loaded her with reproaches, to which
she listened with the most provoking and callous composure; for it is one
of her attributes, that, violent and fierce as she is upon most
occasions, there are some in which she shows the most imperturbable
calmness. I threatened her with justice; she said I had more reason to
fear justice than she had. I felt she was right, and was silenced. I
threatened her with vengeance; she replied in nearly the same words,
that, to judge by injuries received, I had more reason to fear her
vengeance, than she to dread mine. She was again right, and I was left
without an answer. I flung myself from her in indignation, and employed a
comrade to make inquiry in the neighbourhood of Saint Leonard's
concerning your sister; but ere I received his answer, the opening quest
of a well-scented terrier of the law drove me from the vicinity of
Edinburgh, to a more distant and secluded place of concealment. A secret
and trusty emissary at length brought me the account of Porteous's
condemnation, and of your sister's imprisonment on a criminal charge;
thus astounding one of mine ears, while he gratified the other.

"I again ventured to the Pleasance--again charged Murdockson with
treachery to the unfortunate Effie and her child, though I could conceive
no reason, save that of appropriating the whole of the money I had lodged
with her. Your narrative throws light on this, and shows another motive,
not less powerful because less evident--the desire of wreaking vengeance
on the seducer of her daughter,--the destroyer at once of her reason and
reputation. Great God! how I wish that, instead of the revenge she made
choice of, she had delivered me up to the cord!"

"But what account did the wretched woman give of Effie and the bairn?"
said Jeanie, who, during this long and agitating narrative, had firmness
and discernment enough to keep her eye on such points as might throw
light on her sister's misfortunes.

"She would give none," said Staunton; "she said the mother made a
moonlight flitting from her house, with the infant in her arms--that she
had never seen either of them since--that the lass might have thrown the
child into the North Loch or the Quarry Holes for what she knew, and it
was like enough she had done so."

"And how came you to believe that she did not speak the fatal truth?"
said Jeanie, trembling.

"Because, on this second occasion, I saw her daughter, and I understood
from her, that, in fact, the child had been removed or destroyed during
the illness of the mother. But all knowledge to be got from her is so
uncertain and indirect, that I could not collect any farther
circumstances. Only the diabolical character of old Murdockson makes me
augur the worst."

"The last account agrees with that given by my poor sister," said Jeanie;
"but gang on wi' your ain tale, sir."

"Of this I am certain," said Staunton, "that Effie, in her senses, and
with her knowledge, never injured living creature.--But what could I do
in her exculpation?--Nothing--and, therefore, my whole thoughts were
turned toward her safety. I was under the cursed necessity of suppressing
my feelings towards Murdockson; my life was in the hag's hand--that I
cared not for; but on my life hung that of your sister. I spoke the
wretch fair; I appeared to confide in her; and to me, so far as I was
personally concerned, she gave proofs of extraordinary fidelity. I was at
first uncertain what measures I ought to adopt for your sister's
liberation, when the general rage excited among the citizens of Edinburgh
on account of the reprieve, of Porteous, suggested to me the daring idea
of forcing the jail, and at once carrying off your sister from the
clutches of the law, and bringing to condign punishment a miscreant, who
had tormented the unfortunate Wilson, even in the hour of death as if he
had been a wild Indian taken captive by a hostile tribe. I flung myself
among the multitude in the moment of fermentation--so did others among
Wilson's mates, who had, like me, been disappointed in the hope of
glutting their eyes with Porteous's execution. All was organised, and I
was chosen for the captain. I felt not--I do not now feel, compunction
for what was to be done, and has since been executed."

"O, God forgive ye, sir, and bring ye to a better sense of your ways!"
exclaimed Jeanie, in horror at the avowal of such violent sentiments.

"Amen," replied Staunton, "if my sentiments are wrong. But I repeat,
that, although willing to aid the deed, I could have wished them to have
chosen another leader; because I foresaw that the great and general duty
of the night would interfere with the assistance which I proposed to
render Effie. I gave a commission however, to a trusty friend to protect
her to a place of safety, so soon as the fatal procession had left the
jail. But for no persuasions which I could use in the hurry of the
moment, or which my comrade employed at more length, after the mob had
taken a different direction, could the unfortunate girl be prevailed upon
to leave the prison. His arguments were all wasted upon the infatuated
victim, and he was obliged to leave her in order to attend to his own
safety. Such was his account; but, perhaps, he persevered less steadily
in his attempts to persuade her than I would have done."

"Effie was right to remain," said Jeanie; "and I love her the better for
it."

"Why will you say so?" said Staunton.

"You cannot understand my reasons, sir, if I should render them,"
answered Jeanie composedly; "they that thirst for the blood of their
enemies have no taste for the well-spring of life."

"My hopes," said Staunton, "were thus a second time disappointed. My next
efforts were to bring her through her trial by means of yourself. How I
urged it, and where, you cannot have forgotten. I do not blame you for
your refusal; it was founded, I am convinced, on principle, and not on
indifference to your sister's fate. For me, judge of me as a man frantic;
I knew not what hand to turn to, and all my efforts were unavailing. In
this condition, and close beset on all sides, I thought of what might be
done by means of my family, and their influence. I fled from Scotland--I
reached this place--my miserably wasted and unhappy appearance procured
me from my father that pardon, which a parent finds it so hard to refuse,
even to the most undeserving son. And here I have awaited in anguish of
mind, which the condemned criminal might envy, the event of your sister's
trial."

"Without taking any steps for her relief?" said Jeanie.

"To the last I hoped her ease might terminate more favourably; and it is
only two days since that the fatal tidings reached me. My resolution was
instantly taken. I mounted my best horse with the purpose of making the
utmost haste to London and there compounding with Sir Robert Walpole for
your sister's safety, by surrendering to him, in the person of the heir
of the family of Willingham, the notorious George Robertson, the
accomplice of Wilson, the breaker of the Tolbooth prison, and the
well-known leader of the Porteous mob."

"But would that save my sister?" said Jeanie, in astonishment.

"It would, as I should drive my bargain," said Staunton. "Queens love
revenge as well as their subjects--Little as you seem to esteem it, it is
a poison which pleases all palates, from the prince to the peasant. Prime
ministers love no less the power of gratifying sovereigns by gratifying
their passions.--The life of an obscure village girl! Why, I might ask
the best of the crown-jewels for laying the head of such an insolent
conspiracy at the foot of her majesty, with a certainty of being
gratified. All my other plans have failed, but this could not--Heaven is
just, however, and would not honour me with making this voluntary
atonement for the injury I have done your sister. I had not rode ten
miles, when my horse, the best and most sure-footed animal in this
country, fell with me on a level piece of road, as if he had been struck
by a cannon-shot. I was greatly hurt, and was brought back here in the
condition in which you now see me."

As young Staunton had come to the conclusion, the servant opened the
door, and, with a voice which seemed intended rather for a signal, than
merely the announcing of a visit, said, "His Reverence, sir, is coming up
stairs to wait upon you."

"For God's sake, hide yourself, Jeanie," exclaimed Staunton, "in that
dressing closet!"

"No, sir," said Jeanie; "as I am here for nae ill, I canna take the shame
of hiding mysell frae the master of the house."

"But, good Heavens!" exclaimed George Staunton, "do but consider--"

Ere he could complete the sentence, his father entered the apartment.



CHAPTER TENTH.


             And now, will pardon, comfort, kindness, draw
             The youth from vice? will honour, duty, law?
                                            Crabbe.

Jeanie arose from her seat, and made her quiet reverence, when the elder
Mr. Staunton entered the apartment. His astonishment was extreme at
finding his son in such company.

"I perceive, madam, I have made a mistake respecting you, and ought to
have left the task of interrogating you, and of righting your wrongs, to
this young man, with whom, doubtless, you have been formerly acquainted."

"It's unwitting on my part that I am here;" said Jeanie; "the servant
told me his master wished to speak with me."

"There goes the purple coat over my ears," murmured Tummas. "D--n her,
why must she needs speak the truth, when she could have as well said
anything else she had a mind?"

"George," said Mr. Staunton, "if you are still, as you have ever
been,--lost to all self-respect, you might at least have spared your
father and your father's house, such a disgraceful scene as this."

"Upon my life--upon my soul, sir!" said George, throwing his feet over
the side of the bed, and starting from his recumbent posture.

"Your life, sir?" interrupted his father, with melancholy
sternness,--"What sort of life has it been?--Your soul! alas! what
regard have you ever paid to it? Take care to reform both ere offering
either as pledges of your sincerity."

"On my honour, sir, you do me wrong," answered George Staunton; "I have
been all that you can call me that's bad, but in the present instance you
do me injustice. By my honour you do!"

"Your honour!" said his father, and turned from him, with a look of the
most upbraiding contempt, to Jeanie. "From you, young woman, I neither
ask nor expect any explanation; but as a father alike and as a clergyman,
I request your departure from this house. If your romantic story has been
other than a pretext to find admission into it (which, from the society
in which you first appeared, I may be permitted to doubt), you will find
a justice of peace within two miles, with whom, more properly than with
me, you may lodge your complaint."

"This shall not be," said George Staunton, starting up to his feet.
"Sir, you are naturally kind and humane--you shall not become cruel
and inhospitable on my account. Turn out that eaves-dropping rascal,"
pointing to Thomas, "and get what hartshorn drops, or what better receipt
you have against fainting, and I will explain to you in two words the
connection betwixt this young woman and me. She shall not lose her fair
character through me. I have done too much mischief to her family
already, and I know too well what belongs to the loss of fame."

"Leave the room, sir," said the Rector to the servant; and when the man
had obeyed, he carefully shut the door behind him. Then, addressing his
son, he said sternly, "Now, sir, what new proof of your infamy have you
to impart to me?"

Young Staunton was about to speak, but it was one of those moments when
those, who, like Jeanie Deans, possess the advantage of a steady courage
and unruffled temper, can assume the superiority over more ardent but
less determined spirits.

"Sir," she said to the elder Staunton, "ye have an undoubted right to ask
your ain son to render a reason of his conduct. But respecting me, I am
but a wayfaring traveller, no ways obligated or indebted to you, unless
it be for the meal of meat which, in my ain country, is willingly gien by
rich or poor, according to their ability, to those who need it; and for
which, forby that, I am willing to make payment, if I didna think it
would be an affront to offer siller in a house like this--only I dinna
ken the fashions of the country."

"This is all very well, young woman," said the Rector, a good deal
surprised, and unable to conjecture whether to impute Jeanie's language
to simplicity or impertinence; "this may be all very well--but let me
bring it to a point. Why do you stop this young man's mouth, and prevent
his communicating to his father and his best friend, an explanation
(since he says he has one) of circumstances which seem in themselves not
a little suspicious?"

"He may tell of his ain affairs what he likes," answered Jeanie; "but my
family and friends have nae right to hae ony stories told anent them
without their express desire; and, as they canna be here to speak for
themselves, I entreat ye wadna ask Mr. George Rob--I mean Staunton, or
whatever his name is, ony questions anent me or my folk; for I maun be
free to tell you, that he will neither have the bearing of a Christian or
a gentleman, if he answers you against my express desire."

"This is the most extraordinary thing I ever met with," said the Rector,
as, after fixing his eyes keenly on the placid, yet modest countenance of
Jeanie, he turned them suddenly upon his son. "What have you to say,
sir?"

"That I feel I have been too hasty in my promise, sir," answered George
Staunton; "I have no title to make any communications respecting the
affairs of this young person's family without her assent."

The elder Mr. Staunton turned his eyes from one to the other with marks
of surprise.

"This is more, and worse, I fear," he said, addressing his son, "than one
of your frequent and disgraceful connections--I insist upon knowing the
mystery."

"I have already said, sir," replied his son, rather sullenly, "that I
have no title to mention the affairs of this young woman's family without
her consent."

"And I hae nae mysteries to explain, sir," said Jeanie, "but only to pray
you, as a preacher of the gospel and a gentleman, to permit me to go safe
to the next public-house on the Lunnon road."

"I shall take care of your safety," said young Staunton "you need ask
that favour from no one."

"Do you say so before my face?" said the justly-incensed father.
"Perhaps, sir, you intend to fill up the cup of disobedience and
profligacy by forming a low and disgraceful marriage? But let me bid you
beware."

"If you were feared for sic a thing happening wi' me, sir," said Jeanie,
"I can only say, that not for all the land that lies between the twa ends
of the rainbow wad I be the woman that should wed your son."

"There is something very singular in all this," said the elder Staunton;
"follow me into the next room, young woman."

"Hear me speak first," said the young man. "I have but one word to say. I
confide entirely in your prudence; tell my father as much or as little of
these matters as you will, he shall know neither more nor less from me."

His father darted at him a glance of indignation, which softened into
sorrow as he saw him sink down on the couch, exhausted with the scene he
had undergone. He left the apartment, and Jeanie followed him, George
Staunton raising himself as she passed the door-way, and pronouncing the
word, "Remember!" in a tone as monitory as it was uttered by Charles I.
upon the scaffold. The elder Staunton led the way into a small parlour,
and shut the door.

"Young woman," said he, "there is something in your face and appearance
that marks both sense and simplicity, and, if I am not deceived,
innocence also--Should it be otherwise, I can only say, you are the most
accomplished hypocrite I have ever seen.--I ask to know no secret that
you have unwillingness to divulge, least of all those which concern my
son. His conduct has given me too much unhappiness to permit me to hope
comfort or satisfaction from him. If you are such as I suppose you,
believe me, that whatever unhappy circumstances may have connected you
with George Staunton, the sooner you break them through the better."

"I think I understand your meaning, sir," replied Jeanie; "and as ye are
sae frank as to speak o' the young gentleman in sic a way, I must needs
say that it is but the second time of my speaking wi' him in our lives,
and what I hae heard frae him on these twa occasions has been such that I
never wish to hear the like again."

"Then it is your real intention to leave this part of the country, and
proceed to London?" said the Rector.

"Certainly, sir; for I may say, in one sense, that the avenger of blood
is behind me; and if I were but assured against mischief by the way"

"I have made inquiry," said the clergyman, "after the suspicious
characters you described. They have left their place of rendezvous; but
as they may be lurking in the neighbourhood, and as you say you have
special reason to apprehend violence from them, I will put you under the
charge of a steady person, who will protect you as far as Stamford, and
see you into a light coach, which goes from thence to London."

"A coach is not for the like of me, sir," said Jeanie, to whom the idea
of a stage-coach was unknown, as, indeed, they were then only used in the
neighbourhood of London.

Mr. Staunton briefly explained that she would find that mode of
conveyance more commodious, cheaper, and more safe, than travelling on
horseback. She expressed her gratitude with so much singleness of heart,
that he was induced to ask her whether she wanted the pecuniary means of
prosecuting her journey. She thanked him, but said she had enough for her
purpose; and, indeed, she had husbanded her stock with great care. This
reply served also to remove some doubts, which naturally enough still
floated in Mr. Staunton's mind, respecting her character and real
purpose, and satisfied him, at least, that money did not enter into her
scheme of deception, if an impostor she should prove. He next requested
to know what part of the city she wished to go to.

"To a very decent merchant, a cousin o' my ain, a Mrs. Glass, sir, that
sells snuff and tobacco, at the sign o' the Thistle, somegate in the
town."

Jeanie communicated this intelligence with a feeling that a connection so
respectable ought to give her consequence in the eyes of Mr. Staunton;
and she was a good deal surprised when he answered--

"And is this woman your only acquaintance in London, my poor girl? and
have you really no better knowledge where she is to be found?"

"I was gaun to see the Duke of Argyle, forby Mrs. Glass," said Jeanie;
"and if your honour thinks it would be best to go there first, and get
some of his Grace's folk to show me my cousin's shop"

"Are you acquainted with any of the Duke of Argyle's people?" said the
Rector.

"No, sir."

"Her brain must be something touched after all, or it would be impossible
for her to rely on such introductions.--Well," said he aloud, "I must not
inquire into the cause of your journey, and so I cannot be fit to give
you advice how to manage it. But the landlady of the house where the
coach stops is a very decent person; and as I use her house sometimes, I
will give you a recommendation to her."

Jeanie thanked him for his kindness with her best courtesy, and said,
"That with his honour's line, and ane from worthy Mrs. Bickerton, that
keeps the Seven Stars at York, she did not doubt to be well taken out in
Lunnon."

"And now," said he, "I presume you will be desirous to set out
immediately."

"If I had been in an inn, sir, or any suitable resting-place," answered
Jeanie, "I wad not have presumed to use the Lord's day for travelling but
as I am on a journey of mercy, I trust my doing so will not be imputed."

"You may, if you choose, remain with Mrs. Dalton for the evening; but I
desire you will have no farther correspondence with my son, who is not a
proper counsellor for a person of your age, whatever your difficulties
may be."

"Your honour speaks ower truly in that," said Jeanie; "it was not with my
will that I spoke wi' him just now, and--not to wish the gentleman
onything but gude--I never wish to see him between the een again."

"If you please," added the Rector, "as you seem to be a seriously
disposed young woman, you may attend family worship in the hall this
evening."

"I thank your honour," said Jeanie; "but I am doubtful if my attendance
would be to edification."

"How!" said the Rector; "so young, and already unfortunate enough to have
doubts upon the duties of religion!"

"God forbid, sir," replied Jeanie; "it is not for that; but I have been
bred in the faith of the suffering remnant of the Presbyterian doctrine
in Scotland, and I am doubtful if I can lawfully attend upon your fashion
of worship, seeing it has been testified against by many precious souls
of our kirk, and specially by my worthy father."

"Well, my good girl," said the Rector, with a good-humoured smile, "far
be it from me to put any force upon your conscience; and yet you ought to
recollect that the same divine grace dispenses its streams to other
kingdoms as well as to Scotland. As it is as essential to our spiritual,
as water to our earthly wants, its springs, various in character, yet
alike efficacious in virtue, are to be found in abundance throughout the
Christian world."

"Ah, but," said Jeanie, "though the waters may be alike, yet, with your
worship's leave, the blessing upon them may not be equal. It would have
been in vain for Naaman the Syrian leper to have bathed in Pharpar and
Abana, rivers of Damascus, when it was only the waters of Jordon that
were sanctified for the cure."

"Well," said the Rector, "we will not enter upon the great debate betwixt
our national churches at present. We must endeavour to satisfy you, that,
at least, amongst our errors, we preserve Christian charity, and a desire
to assist our brethren."

He then ordered Mrs. Dalton into his presence, and consigned Jeanie to
her particular charge, with directions to be kind to her, and with
assurances, that, early in the morning, a trusty guide and a good horse
should be ready to conduct her to Stamford. He then took a serious and
dignified, yet kind leave of her, wishing her full success in the objects
of her journey, which he said he doubted not were laudable, from the
soundness of thinking which she had displayed in conversation.

Jeanie was again conducted by the housekeeper to her own apartment. But
the evening was not destined to pass over without farther torment from
young Staunton. A paper was slipped into her hand by the faithful Tummas,
which intimated his young master's desire, or rather demand, to see her
instantly, and assured her he had provided against interruption.

"Tell your young master," said Jeanie, openly, and regardless of all the
winks and signs by which Tummas strove to make her comprehend that Mrs.
Dalton was not to be admitted into the secret of the correspondence,
"that I promised faithfully to his worthy father that I would not see him
again."

"Tummas," said Mrs. Dalton, "I think you might be much more creditably
employed, considering the coat you wear, and the house you live in, than
to be carrying messages between your young master and girls that chance
to be in this house."

"Why, Mrs. Dalton, as to that, I was hired to carry messages, and not to
ask any questions about them; and it's not for the like of me to refuse
the young gentleman's bidding, if he were a little wildish or so. If
there was harm meant, there's no harm done, you see."

"However," said Mrs. Dalton, "I gie you fair warning, Tummas Ditton, that
an I catch thee at this work again, his Reverence shall make a clear
house of you."

Thomas retired, abashed and in dismay. The rest of the evening passed
away without anything worthy of notice.

Jeanie enjoyed the comforts of a good bed and a sound sleep with grateful
satisfaction, after the perils and hardships of the preceding day; and
such was her fatigue, that she slept soundly until six o'clock, when she
was awakened by Mrs. Dalton, who acquainted her that her guide and horse
were ready, and in attendance. She hastily rose, and, after her morning
devotions, was soon ready to resume her travels. The motherly care of the
housekeeper had provided an early breakfast, and, after she had partaken
of this refreshment, she found herself safe seated on a pillion behind a
stout Lincolnshire peasant, who was, besides, armed with pistols, to
protect her against any violence which might be offered.

They trudged along in silence for a mile or two along a country road,
which conducted them, by hedge and gate-way, into the principal highway,
a little beyond Grantham. At length her master of the horse asked her
whether her name was not Jean, or Jane, Deans. She answered in the
affirmative, with some surprise. "Then here's a bit of a note as concerns
you," said the man, handing it over his left shoulder. "It's from young
master, as I judge, and every man about Willingham is fain to pleasure
him either for love or fear; for he'll come to be landlord at last, let
them say what they like."

Jeanie broke the seal of the note, which was addressed to her, and read
as follows:--

"You refuse to see me. I suppose you are shocked at my character: but, in
painting myself such as I am, you should give me credit for my sincerity.
I am, at least, no hypocrite. You refuse, however, to see me, and your
conduct may be natural--but is it wise? I have expressed my anxiety to
repair your sister's misfortunes at the expense of my honour,--my
family's honour--my own life, and you think me too debased to be admitted
even to sacrifice what I have remaining of honour, fame, and life, in her
cause. Well, if the offerer be despised, the victim is still equally at
hand; and perhaps there may be justice in the decree of Heaven, that I
shall not have the melancholy credit of appearing to make this sacrifice
out of my own free good-will. You, as you have declined my concurrence,
must take the whole upon yourself. Go, then, to the Duke of Argyle, and,
when other arguments fail you, tell him you have it in your power to
bring to condign punishment the most active conspirator in the Porteous
mob. He will hear you on this topic, should he be deaf to every other.
Make your own terms, for they will be at your own making. You know where
I am to be found; and you may be assured I will not give you the dark
side of the hill, as at Muschat's Cairn; I have no thoughts of stirring
from the house I was born in; like the hare, I shall be worried in the
seat I started from. I repeat it--make your own terms. I need not remind
you to ask your sister's life, for that you will do of course; but make
terms of advantage for yourself--ask wealth and reward--office and income
for Butler--ask anything--you will get anything--and all for delivering
to the hands of the executioner a man most deserving of his office;--one
who, though young in years, is old in wickedness, and whose most earnest
desire is, after the storms of an unquiet life, to sleep and be at rest."

This extraordinary letter was subscribed with the initials G. S.

Jeanie read it over once or twice with great attention, which the slow
pace of the horse, as he stalked through a deep lane, enabled her to do
with facility.

When she had perused this billet, her first employment was to tear it
into as small pieces as possible, and disperse these pieces in the air by
a few at a time, so that a document containing so perilous a secret might
not fall into any other person's hand.

The question how far, in point of extremity, she was entitled to save her
sister's life by sacrificing that of a person who, though guilty towards
the state, had done her no injury, formed the next earnest and most
painful subject of consideration. In one sense, indeed, it seemed as if
denouncing the guilt of Staunton, the cause of her sister's errors and
misfortunes, would have been an act of just, and even providential
retribution. But Jeanie, in the strict and severe tone of morality in
which she was educated, had to consider not only the general aspect of a
proposed action, but its justness and fitness in relation to the actor,
before she could be, according to her own phrase, free to enter upon it.
What right had she to make a barter between the lives of Staunton and of
Effie, and to sacrifice the one for the safety of the other? His
guilt--that guilt for which he was amenable to the laws--was a crime
against the public indeed, but it was not against her.

Neither did it seem to her that his share in the death of Porteous,
though her mind revolted at the idea of using violence to any one, was in
the relation of a common murder, against the perpetrator of which every
one is called to aid the public magistrate. That violent action was
blended with many circumstances, which, in the eyes of those in Jeanie's
rank of life, if they did not altogether deprive it of the character of
guilt, softened, at least, its most atrocious features. The anxiety of
the government to obtain conviction of some of the offenders, had but
served to increase the public feeling which connected the action, though
violent and irregular, with the idea of ancient national independence.
The rigorous measures adopted or proposed against the city of Edinburgh,
the ancient metropolis of Scotland--the extremely unpopular and
injudicious measure of compelling the Scottish clergy, contrary to their
principles and sense of duty, to promulgate from the pulpit the reward
offered for the discovery of the perpetrators of this slaughter, had
produced on the public mind the opposite consequences from what were
intended; and Jeanie felt conscious, that whoever should lodge
information concerning that event, and for whatsoever purpose it might be
done, it would be considered as an act of treason against the
independence of Scotland. With the fanaticism of the Scottish
Presbyterians, there was always mingled a glow of national feeling, and
Jeanie, trembled at the idea of her name being handed down to posterity
with that of the "fause Monteath," and one or two others, who, having
deserted and betrayed the cause of their country, are damned to perpetual
remembrance and execration among its peasantry. Yet, to part with Effie's
life once more, when a word spoken might save it, pressed severely on the
mind of her affectionate sister.

"The Lord support and direct me!" said Jeanie, "for it seems to be His
will to try me with difficulties far beyond my ain strength."

While this thought passed through Jeanie's mind, her guard, tired of
silence, began to show some inclination to be communicative. He seemed a
sensible, steady peasant, but not having more delicacy or prudence than
is common to those in his situation, he, of course, chose the Willingham
family as the subject of his conversation. From this man Jeanie learned
some particulars of which she had hitherto been ignorant, and which we
will briefly recapitulate for the information of the reader.

The father of George Staunton had been bred a soldier, and during service
in the West Indies, had married the heiress of a wealthy planter. By this
lady he had an only child, George Staunton, the unhappy young, man who
has been so often mentioned in this narrative. He passed the first part
of his early youth under the charge of a doting mother, and in the
society of negro slaves, whose study it was to gratify his every caprice.
His father was a man of worth and sense; but as he alone retained
tolerable health among the officers of the regiment he belonged to, he
was much engaged with his duty. Besides, Mrs. Staunton was beautiful and
wilful, and enjoyed but delicate health; so that it was difficult for a
man of affection, humanity, and a quiet disposition, to struggle with her
on the point of her over-indulgence to an only child. Indeed, what Mr.
Staunton did do towards counteracting the baneful effects of his wife's
system, only tended to render it more pernicious; for every restraint
imposed on the boy in his father's presence, was compensated by treble
license during his absence. So that George Staunton acquired, even in
childhood, the habit of regarding his father as a rigid censor, from
whose severity he was desirous of emancipating himself as soon and
absolutely as possible.

When he was about ten years old, and when his mind had received all the
seeds of those evil weeds which afterwards grew apace, his mother died,
and his father, half heart-broken, returned to England. To sum up her
imprudence and unjustifiable indulgence, she had contrived to place a
considerable part of her fortune at her son's exclusive control or
disposal, in consequence of which management, George Staunton had not
been long in England till he learned his independence, and how to abuse
it. His father had endeavoured to rectify the defects of his education by
placing him in a well-regulated seminary. But although he showed some
capacity for learning, his riotous conduct soon became intolerable to his
teachers. He found means (too easily afforded to all youths who have
certain expectations) of procuring such a command of money as enabled him
to anticipate in boyhood the frolics and follies of a more mature age,
and, with these accomplishments, he was returned on his father's hands as
a profligate boy, whose example might ruin a hundred.

The elder Mr. Staunton, whose mind, since his wife's death, had been
tinged with a melancholy, which certainly his son's conduct did not tend
to dispel, had taken orders, and was inducted by his brother Sir William
Staunton into the family living of Willingham. The revenue was a matter
of consequence to him, for he derived little advantage from the estate of
his late wife; and his own fortune was that of a younger brother.

He took his son to reside with him at the rectory, but he soon found that
his disorders rendered him an intolerable inmate. And as the young men of
his own rank would not endure the purse-proud insolence of the Creole, he
fell into that taste for low society, which is worse than "pressing to
death, whipping, or hanging." His father sent him abroad, but he only
returned wilder and more desperate than before. It is true, this unhappy
youth was not without his good qualities. He had lively wit, good temper,
reckless generosity, and manners, which, while he was under restraint,
might pass well in society. But all these availed him nothing. He was so
well acquainted with the turf, the gaming-table, the cock-pit, and every
worse rendezvous of folly and dissipation, that his mother's fortune was
spent before he was twenty-one, and he was soon in debt and in distress.
His early history may be concluded in the words of our British Juvenal,
when describing a similar character:--

             Headstrong, determined in his own career,
             He thought reproof unjust, and truth severe.
                  The soul's disease was to its crisis come,
             He first abused, and then abjured, his home;
                  And when he chose a vagabond to be,
             He made his shame his glory, "I'll be free!"*
                   [Crabbe's _Borough,_ Letter xii.]

"And yet 'tis pity on Measter George, too," continued the honest boor,
"for he has an open hand, and winna let a poor body want an he has it."

The virtue of profuse generosity, by which, indeed, they themselves are
most directly advantaged, is readily admitted by the vulgar as a cloak
for many sins.

At Stamford our heroine was deposited in safety by her communicative
guide. She obtained a place in the coach, which, although termed a light
one, and accommodated with no fewer than six horses, only reached London
on the afternoon of the second day. The recommendation of the elder Mr.
Staunton procured Jeanie a civil reception at the inn where the carriage
stopped, and, by the aid of Mrs. Bickerton's correspondent, she found out
her friend and relative Mrs. Glass, by whom she was kindly received and
hospitably entertained.



CHAPTER ELEVENTH.

           My name is Argyle, you may well think it strange,
               To live at the court and never to change.
                                Ballad.

Few names deserve more honourable mention in the history of Scotland,
during this period, than that of John, Duke of Argyle and Greenwich. His
talents as a statesman and a soldier were generally admitted; he was not
without ambition, but "without the illness that attends it"--without that
irregularity of thought and aim, which often excites great men, in his
peculiar situation, (for it was a very peculiar one), to grasp the means
of raising themselves to power, at the risk of throwing a kingdom into
confusion. Pope has distinguished him as

           Argyle, the state's whole thunder born to wield,
               And shake alike the senate and the field.

He was alike free from the ordinary vices of statesmen, falsehood,
namely, and dissimulation; and from those of warriors, inordinate and
violent thirst after self-aggrandisement.

Scotland, his native country, stood at this time in a very precarious and
doubtful situation. She was indeed united to England, but the cement had
not had time to acquire consistence. The irritation of ancient wrongs
still subsisted, and betwixt the fretful jealousy of the Scottish, and
the supercilious disdain of the English, quarrels repeatedly occurred, in
the course of which the national league, so important to the safety of
both, was in the utmost danger of being dissolved. Scotland had, besides,
the disadvantage of being divided into intestine factions, which hated
each other bitterly, and waited but a signal to break forth into action.

In such circumstances, another man, with the talents and rank of Argyle,
but without a mind so happily regulated, would have sought to rise from
the earth in the whirlwind, and direct its fury. He chose a course more
safe and more honourable. Soaring above the petty distinctions of
faction, his voice was raised, whether in office or opposition, for those
measures which were at once just and lenient. His high military talents
enabled him, during the memorable year 1715, to render such services to
the House of Hanover, as, perhaps, were too great to be either
acknowledged or repaid. He had employed, too, his utmost influence in
softening the consequences of that insurrection to the unfortunate
gentlemen whom a mistaken sense of loyalty had engaged in the affair, and
was rewarded by the esteem and affection of his country in an uncommon
degree. This popularity, with a discontented and warlike people, was
supposed to be a subject of jealousy at court, where the power to become
dangerous is sometimes of itself obnoxious, though the inclination is not
united with it. Besides, the Duke of Argyle's independent and somewhat
haughty mode of expressing himself in Parliament, and acting in public,
were ill calculated to attract royal favour. He was, therefore, always
respected, and often employed; but he was not a favourite of George the
Second, his consort, or his ministers. At several different periods in
his life, the Duke might be considered as in absolute disgrace at court,
although he could hardly be said to be a declared member of opposition.
This rendered him the dearer to Scotland, because it was usually in her
cause that he incurred the displeasure of his sovereign; and upon this
very occasion of the Porteous mob, the animated and eloquent opposition
which he had offered to the severe measures which were about to be
adopted towards the city of Edinburgh, was the more gratefully received
in that metropolis, as it was understood that the Duke's interposition
had given personal offence to Queen Caroline.

His conduct upon this occasion, as, indeed, that of all the Scottish
members of the legislature, with one or two unworthy exceptions, had been
in the highest degree spirited. The popular tradition, concerning his
reply to Queen Caroline, has been given already, and some fragments of
his speech against the Porteous Bill are still remembered. He retorted
upon the Chancellor, Lord Hardwicke, the insinuation that he had stated
himself in this case rather as a party than as a judge:--"I appeal," said
Argyle, "to the House--to the nation, if I can be justly branded with the
infamy of being a jobber or a partisan. Have I been a briber of votes?--a
buyer of boroughs?--the agent of corruption for any purpose, or on behalf
of any party?--Consider my life; examine my actions in the field and in
the cabinet, and see where there lies a blot that can attach to my
honour. I have shown myself the friend of my country--the loyal subject
of my king. I am ready to do so again, without an instant's regard to the
frowns or smiles of a court. I have experienced both, and am prepared
with indifference for either. I have given my reasons for opposing this
bill, and have made it appear that it is repugnant to the international
treaty of union, to the liberty of Scotland, and, reflectively, to that
of England, to common justice, to common sense, and to the public
interest. Shall the metropolis of Scotland, the capital of an independent
nation, the residence of a long line of monarchs, by whom that noble city
was graced and dignified--shall such a city, for the fault of an obscure
and unknown body of rioters, be deprived of its honours and its
privileges--its gates and its guards?--and shall a native Scotsman tamely
behold the havoc? I glory, my Lords, in opposing such unjust rigour, and
reckon it my dearest pride and honour to stand up in defence of my native
country while thus laid open to undeserved shame, and unjust spoliation."

Other statesmen and orators, both Scottish and English, used the same
arguments, the bill was gradually stripped of its most oppressive and
obnoxious clauses, and at length ended in a fine upon the city of
Edinburgh in favour of Porteous's widow. So that, as somebody observed at
the time, the whole of these fierce debates ended in making the fortune
of an old cook-maid, such having been the good woman's original capacity.

The court, however, did not forget the baffle they had received in this
affair, and the Duke of Argyle, who had contributed so much to it, was
thereafter considered as a person in disgrace. It is necessary to place
these circumstances under the reader's observation, both because they are
connected with the preceding and subsequent part of our narrative.

The Duke was alone in his study, when one of his gentlemen acquainted
him, that a country-girl, from Scotland, was desirous of speaking with
his Grace.

"A country-girl, and from Scotland!" said the Duke; "what can have
brought the silly fool to London?--Some lover pressed and sent to sea, or
some stock sank in the South-Sea funds, or some such hopeful concern, I
suppose, and then nobody to manage the matter but MacCallummore,--Well,
this same popularity has its inconveniences.--However, show our
countrywoman up, Archibald--it is ill manners to keep her in attendance."

A young woman of rather low stature, and whose countenance might be
termed very modest and pleasing in expression, though sun-burnt, somewhat
freckled, and not possessing regular features, was ushered into the
splendid library. She wore the tartan plaid of her country, adjusted so
as partly to cover her head, and partly to fall back over her shoulders.
A quantity of fair hair, disposed with great simplicity and neatness,
appeared in front of her round and good-humoured face, to which the
solemnity of her errand, and her sense of the Duke's rank and importance,
gave an appearance of deep awe, but not of slavish fear, or fluttered
bashfulness. The rest of Jeanie's dress was in the style of Scottish
maidens of her own class; but arranged with that scrupulous attention to
neatness and cleanliness, which we often find united with that purity of
mind, of which it is a natural emblem.

She stopped near the entrance of the room, made her deepest reverence,
and crossed her hands upon her bosom, without uttering a syllable. The
Duke of Argyle advanced towards her; and, if she admired his graceful
deportment and rich dress, decorated with the orders which had been
deservedly bestowed on him, his courteous manner, and quick and
intelligent cast of countenance, he on his part was not less, or less
deservedly, struck with the quiet simplicity and modesty expressed in the
dress, manners, and countenance of his humble countrywoman.

"Did you wish to speak with me, my bonny lass?" said the Duke, using the
encouraging epithet which at once acknowledged the connection betwixt
them as country-folk; "or did you wish to see the Duchess?"

"My business is with your honour, my Lord--I mean your Lordship's Grace."

"And what is it, my good girl?" said the Duke, in the same mild and
encouraging tone of voice. Jeanie looked at the attendant. "Leave us,
Archibald," said the Duke, "and wait in the anteroom." The domestic
retired. "And now sit down, my good lass," said the Duke; "take your
breath--take your time, and tell me what you have got to say. I guess by
your dress, you are just come up from poor Scotland--Did you come through
the streets in your tartan plaid?"

"No, sir," said Jeanie; "a friend brought me in ane o' their street
coaches--a very decent woman," she added, her courage increasing as she
became familiar with the sound of her own voice in such a presence; "your
Lordship's Grace kens her--it's Mrs. Glass, at the sign o' the Thistle."

"O, my worthy snuff-merchant--I have always a chat with Mrs. Glass when
I purchase my Scots high-dried. Well, but your business, my bonny
woman--time and tide, you know, wait for no one."

"Your honour--I beg your Lordship's pardon--I mean your Grace,"--for it
must be noticed, that this matter of addressing the Duke by his
appropriate title had been anxiously inculcated upon Jeanie by her friend
Mrs. Glass, in whose eyes it was a matter of such importance, that her
last words, as Jeanie left the coach, were, "Mind to say your Grace;" and
Jeanie, who had scarce ever in her life spoke to a person of higher
quality than the Laird of Dumbiedikes, found great difficulty in
arranging her language according to the rules of ceremony.

The Duke, who saw her embarrassment, said, with his usual affability,
"Never mind my grace, lassie; just speak out a plain tale, and show you
have a Scots tongue in your head."

"Sir, I am muckle obliged--Sir, I am the sister of that poor unfortunate
criminal, Effie Deans, who is ordered for execution at Edinburgh."'

"Ah!" said the Duke, "I have heard of that unhappy story, I think--a case
of child-murder, under a special act of parliament--Duncan Forbes
mentioned it at dinner the other day."

"And I was come up frae the north, sir, to see what could be done for her
in the way of getting a reprieve or pardon, sir, or the like of that."

"Alas! my poor girl," said the Duke; "you have made a long and a sad
journey to very little purpose--Your sister is ordered for execution."

"But I am given to understand that there is law for reprieving her, if it
is in the king's pleasure," said Jeanie.

"Certainly, there is," said the Duke; "but that is purely in the king's
breast. The crime has been but too common--the Scots crown-lawyers think
it is right there should be an example. Then the late disorders in
Edinburgh have excited a prejudice in government against the nation at
large, which they think can only be managed by measures of intimidation
and severity. What argument have you, my poor girl, except the warmth of
your sisterly affection, to offer against all this?--What is your
interest?--What friends have you at court?"

"None, excepting God and your Grace," said Jeanie, still keeping her
ground resolutely, however.

"Alas!" said the Duke, "I could almost say with old Ormond, that there
could not be any, whose influence was smaller with kings and ministers.
It is a cruel part of our situation, young woman--I mean of the situation
of men in my circumstances, that the public ascribe to them influence
which they do not possess; and that individuals are led to expect from
them assistance which we have no means of rendering. But candour and
plain dealing is in the power of every one, and I must not let you
imagine you have resources in my influence, which do not exist, to make
your distress the heavier--I have no means of averting your sister's
fate--She must die."

"We must a' die, sir," said Jeanie; "it is our common doom for our
father's transgression; but we shouldna hasten ilk other out o' the
world, that's what your honour kens better than me."

"My good young woman," said the Duke, mildly, "we are all apt to blame
the law under which we immediately suffer; but you seem to have been well
educated in your line of life, and you must know that it is alike the law
of God and man, that the murderer shall surely die."

"But, sir, Effie--that is, my poor sister, sir--canna be proved to be a
murderer; and if she be not, and the law take her life notwithstanding,
wha is it that is the murderer then?"

"I am no lawyer," said the Duke; "and I own I think the statute a very
severe one."

"You are a law-maker, sir, with your leave; and, therefore, ye have power
over the law," answered Jeanie.

"Not in my individual capacity," said the Duke; "though, as one of a
large body, I have a voice in the legislation. But that cannot serve
you--nor have I at present, I care not who knows it, so much personal
influence with the sovereign, as would entitle me to ask from him the
most insignificant favour. What could tempt you, young woman, to address
yourself to me?"

"It was yourself, sir."

"Myself?" he replied--"I am sure you have never seen me before."

"No, sir; but a' the world kens that the Duke of Argyle is his country's
friend; and that ye fight for the right, and speak for the right, and
that there's nane like you in our present Israel, and so they that think
themselves wranged draw to refuge under your shadow; and if ye wunna stir
to save the blood of an innocent countrywoman of your ain, what should we
expect frae southerns and strangers? And maybe I had another reason for
troubling your honour."

"And what is that?" asked the Duke.

"I hae understood from my father, that your honour's house, and
especially your gudesire and his father, laid down their lives on the
scaffold in the persecuting time. And my father was honoured to gie his
testimony baith in the cage and in the pillory, as is specially mentioned
in the books of Peter Walker the packman, that your honour, I dare say,
kens, for he uses maist partly the westland of Scotland. And, sir,
there's ane that takes concern in me, that wished me to gang to your
Grace's presence, for his gudesire had done your gracious gudesire some
good turn, as ye will see frae these papers."

With these words, she delivered to the Duke the little parcel which she
had received from Butler. He opened it, and, in the envelope, read with
some surprise, "'Musterroll of the men serving in the troop of that godly
gentleman, Captain Salathiel Bangtext.--Obadiah Muggleton, Sin-Despise
Double-knock, Stand-fast-in-faith Gipps, Turn-to-the-right Thwack-away'--
What the deuce is this? A list of Praise-God Barebone's Parliament I
think, or of old Noll's evangelical army--that last fellow should
understand his wheelings, to judge by his name.--But what does all this
mean, my girl?"

"It was the other paper, sir," said Jeanie, somewhat abashed at the
mistake.

"O, this is my unfortunate grandfather's hand sure enough--'To all who
may have friendship for the house of Argyle, these are to certify, that
Benjamin Butler, of Monk's regiment of dragoons, having been, under God,
the means of saving my life from four English troopers who were about, to
slay me, I, having no other present means of recompense in my power, do
give him this acknowledgment, hoping that it may be useful to him or his
during these troublesome times; and do conjure my friends, tenants,
kinsmen, and whoever will do aught for me, either in the Highlands or
Lowlands, to protect and assist the said Benjamin Butler, and his friends
or family, on their lawful occasions, giving them such countenance,
maintenance, and supply, as may correspond with the benefit he hath
bestowed on me; witness my hand--Lorne.'

"This is a strong injunction--This Benjamin Butler was your grandfather,
I suppose?--You seem too young to have been his daughter."

"He was nae akin to me, sir--he was grandfather to ane--to a neighbour's
son--to a sincere weel-wisher of mine, sir," dropping her little courtesy
as she spoke.

"O, I understand," said the Duke--"a true-love affair. He was the
grandsire of one you are engaged to?"

"One I _was_ engaged to, sir," said Jeanie, sighing; "but this unhappy
business of my poor sister--"

"What!" said the Duke, hastily--"he has not deserted you on that account,
has he?"

"No, sir; he wad be the last to leave a friend in difficulties," said
Jeanie; "but I maun think for him as weel as for mysell. He is a
clergyman, sir, and it would not beseem him to marry the like of me, wi'
this disgrace on my kindred."

"You are a singular young woman," said the Duke. "You seem to me to think
of every one before yourself. And have you really come up from Edinburgh
on foot, to attempt this hopeless solicitation for your sister's life?"

"It was not a'thegither on foot, sir," answered Jeanie; "for I sometimes
got a cast in a waggon, and I had a horse from Ferrybridge, and then the
coach---"

"Well, never mind all that," interrupted the Duke--"What reason have you
for thinking your sister innocent?"

"Because she has not been proved guilty, as will appear from looking at
these papers."

She put into his hand a note of the evidence, and copies of her sister's
declaration. These papers Butler had procured after her departure, and
Saddletree had them forwarded to London, to Mrs. Glass's care, so that
Jeanie found the documents, so necessary for supporting her suit, lying
in readiness at her arrival.

"Sit down in that chair, my good girl," said the Duke,--"until I glance
over the papers."

She obeyed, and watched with the utmost anxiety each change in his
countenance as he cast his eye through the papers briefly, yet with
attention, and making memoranda as he went along. After reading them
hastily over, he looked up, and seemed about to speak, yet changed his
purpose, as if afraid of committing himself by giving too hasty an
opinion, and read over again several passages which he had marked as
being most important. All this he did in shorter time than can be
supposed by men of ordinary talents; for his mind was of that acute and
penetrating character which discovers, with the glance of intuition, what
facts bear on the particular point that chances to be subjected to
consideration. At length he rose, after a few minutes' deep reflection.--
"Young woman," said he, "your sister's case must certainly be termed a
hard one."

"God bless you, sir, for that very word!" said Jeanie.

"It seems contrary to the genius of British law," continued the Duke, "to
take that for granted which is not proved, or to punish with death for a
crime, which, for aught the prosecutor has been able to show, may not
have been committed at all."

"God bless you, sir!" again said Jeanie, who had risen from her seat,
and, with clasped hands, eyes glittering through tears, and features
which trembled with anxiety, drank in every word which the Duke uttered.

"But, alas! my poor girl," he continued, "what good will my opinion do
you, unless I could impress it upon those in whose hands your sister's
life is placed by the law? Besides, I am no lawyer; and I must speak with
some of our Scottish gentlemen of the gown about the matter."

"O, but, sir, what seems reasonable to your honour, will certainly be the
same to them," answered Jeanie.

"I do not know that," replied the Duke; "ilka man buckles his belt his
ain gate--you know our old Scots proverb?--But you shall not have placed
this reliance on me altogether in vain. Leave these papers with me, and
you shall hear from me to-morrow or next day. Take care to be at home at
Mrs. Glass's, and ready to come to me at a moment's warning. It will be
unnecessary for you to give Mrs. Glass the trouble to attend you;--and by
the by, you will please to be dressed just as you are at present."

"I wad hae putten on a cap, sir," said Jeanie, "but your honour kens it
isna the fashion of my country for single women; and I judged that, being
sae mony hundred miles frae hame, your Grace's heart wad warm to the
tartan," looking at the corner of her plaid.

"You judged quite right," said the Duke. "I know the full value of the
snood; and MacCallummore's heart will be as cold as death can make it,
when it does _not_ warm to the tartan. Now, go away, and don't be out of
the way when I send."

Jeanie replied,--"There is little fear of that, sir, for I have little
heart to go to see sights amang this wilderness of black houses. But if I
might say to your gracious honour, that if ye ever condescend to speak to
ony ane that is of greater degree than yoursell, though maybe it isna
civil in me to say sae, just if you would think there can be nae sic odds
between you and them, as between poor Jeanie Deans from St. Leonard's and
the Duke of Argyle; and so dinna be chappit back or cast down wi' the
first rough answer."

"I am not apt," said the Duke, laughing, "to mind rough answers much--Do
not you hope too much from what I have promised. I will do my best, but
God has the hearts of Kings in his own hand."

Jeanie courtesied reverently and withdrew, attended by the Duke's
gentleman, to her hackney-coach, with a respect which her appearance did
not demand, but which was perhaps paid to the length of the interview
with which his master had honoured her.



CHAPTER TWELFTH.

                        Ascend
               While radiant summer opens all its pride,
               Thy hill, delightful Shene! Here let us sweep
                       The boundless landscape.
                                             Thomson.

From her kind and officious, but somewhat gossiping friend, Mrs. Glass,
Jeanie underwent a very close catechism on their road to the Strand,
where the Thistle of the good lady flourished in full glory, and, with
its legend of _Nemo me impune,_ distinguished a shop then well known to
all Scottish folk of high and low degree.

"And were you sure aye to _say your_ Grace to him?" said the good old
lady; "for ane should make a distinction between MacCallummore and the
bits o' southern bodies that they ca' lords here--there are as mony o'
them, Jeanie, as would gar ane think they maun cost but little fash in
the making--some of them I wadna trust wi' six pennies-worth of
black-rappee--some of them I wadna gie mysell the trouble to put up a
hapnyworth in brown paper for--But I hope you showed your breeding to the
Duke of Argyle, for what sort of folk would he think your friends in
London, if you had been lording him, and him a Duke?"

"He didna seem muckle to mind," said Jeanie; "he kend that I was landward
bred."

"Weel, weel," answered the good lady. "His Grace kens me weel; so I am
the less anxious about it. I never fill his snug-box but he says, 'How
d'ye do, good Mrs. Glass?--How are all our friends in the North?' or it
may be--'Have ye heard from the North lately?' And you may be sure, I
make my best courtesy, and answer, 'My Lord Duke, I hope your Grace's
noble Duchess, and your Grace's young ladies, are well; and I hope the
snuff continues to give your Grace satisfaction.' And then ye will see
the people in the shop begin to look about them; and if there's a
Scotsman, as there may be three or half-a-dozen, aff go the hats, and
mony a look after him, and 'There goes the Prince of Scotland, God bless
him!' But ye have not told me yet the very words he said t'ye."

Jeanie had no intention to be quite so communicative. She had, as the
reader may have observed, some of the caution and shrewdness, as well as
of the simplicity of her country. She answered generally, that the Duke
had received her very compassionately, and had promised to interest
himself in her sister's affair, and to let her hear from him in the
course of the next day, or the day after. She did not choose to make any
mention of his having desired her to be in readiness to attend him, far
less of his hint, that she should not bring her landlady. So that honest
Mrs. Glass was obliged to remain satisfied with the general intelligence
above mentioned, after having done all she could to extract more.

It may easily be conceived, that, on the next day, Jeanie declined all
invitations and inducements, whether of exercise or curiosity, to walk
abroad, and continued to inhale the close, and somewhat professional
atmosphere of Mrs. Glass's small parlour. The latter flavour it owed to a
certain cupboard, containing, among other articles, a few canisters of
real Havannah, which, whether from respect to the manufacture, or out of
a reverend fear of the exciseman, Mrs. Glass did not care to trust in the
open shop below, and which communicated to the room a scent, that,
however fragrant to the nostrils of the connoisseur, was not very
agreeable to those of Jeanie.

"Dear sirs," she said to herself, "I wonder how my cousin's silk manty,
and her gowd watch, or ony thing in the world, can be worth sitting
sneezing all her life in this little stilling room, and might walk on
green braes if she liked."

Mrs. Glass was equally surprised at her cousin's reluctance to stir
abroad, and her indifference to the fine sights of London. "It would
always help to pass away the time," she said, "to have something to look
at, though ane was in distress." But Jeanie was unpersuadable.

The day after her interview with the Duke was spent in that "hope
delayed, which maketh the heart sick." Minutes glided after
minutes--hours fled after hours--it became too late to have any
reasonable expectation of hearing from the Duke that day; yet the hope
which she disowned, she could not altogether relinquish, and her heart
throbbed, and her ears tingled, with every casual sound in the shop
below. It was in vain. The day wore away in the anxiety of protracted
and fruitless expectation.

The next morning commenced in the same manner. But before noon, a
well-dressed gentleman entered Mrs. Glass's shop, and requested to see a
young woman from Scotland.

"That will be my cousin Jeanie Deans, Mr. Archibald," said Mrs. Glass,
with a courtesy of recognisance. "Have you any message for her from his
Grace the Duke of Argyle, Mr. Archibald? I will carry it to her in a
moment."

"I believe I must give her the trouble of stepping down, Mrs. Glass."

"Jeanie--Jeanie Deans!" said Mrs. Glass, screaming at the bottom of the
little staircase, which ascended from the corner of the shop to the
higher regions. "Jeanie--Jeanie Deans, I say! come down stairs instantly;
here is the Duke of Argyle's groom of the chambers desires to see you
directly." This was announced in a voice so loud, as to make all who
chanced to be within hearing aware of the important communication.

It may easily be supposed, that Jeanie did not tarry long in adjusting
herself to attend the summons, yet her feet almost failed her as she came
down stairs.

"I must ask the favour of your company a little way," said Archibald,
with civility.

"I am quite ready, sir," said Jeanie.

"Is my cousin going out, Mr. Archibald? then I will hae to go wi' her, no
doubt.--James Rasper--Look to the shop, James.--Mr. Archibald," pushing a
jar towards him, "you take his Grace's mixture, I think. Please to fill
your box, for old acquaintance' sake, while I get on my things."

Mr. Archibald transferred a modest parcel of snuff from the jar to his
own mull, but said he was obliged to decline the pleasure of Mrs. Glass's
company, as his message was particularly to the young person.

"Particularly to the young person?" said Mrs. Glass; "is not that
uncommon, Mr. Archibald? But his Grace is the best judge; and you are a
steady person, Mr. Archibald. It is not every one that comes from a great
man's house I would trust my cousin with.--But, Jeanie, you must not go
through the streets with Mr. Archibald with your tartan what-d'ye-call-it
there upon your shoulders, as if you had come up with a drove of Highland
cattle. Wait till I bring down my silk cloak. Why, we'll have the mob
after you!"

"I have a hackney-coach in waiting, madam," said Mr. Archibald,
interrupting the officious old lady, from whom Jeanie might otherwise
have found it difficult to escape; "and, I believe, I must not allow her
time for any change of dress."

So saying, he hurried Jeanie into the coach, while she internally praised
and wondered at the easy manner in which he shifted off Mrs. Glass's
officious offers and inquiries, without mentioning his master's orders,
or entering into any explanation,

On entering the coach, Mr. Archibald seated himself in the front seat
opposite to our heroine, and they drove on in silence. After they had
driven nearly half-an-hour, without a word on either side, it occurred to
Jeanie, that the distance and time did not correspond with that which had
been occupied by her journey on the former occasion, to and from the
residence of the Duke of Argyle. At length she could not help asking her
taciturn companion, "Whilk way they were going?"

"My Lord Duke will inform you himself, madam," answered Archibald, with
the same solemn courtesy which marked his whole demeanour. Almost as he
spoke, the hackney-coach drew up, and the coachman dismounted and opened
the door. Archibald got out, and assisted Jeanie to get down. She found
herself in a large turnpike road, without the bounds of London, upon the
other side of which road was drawn up a plain chariot and four horses,
the panels without arms, and the servants without liveries.

"You have been punctual, I see, Jeanie," said the Duke of Argyle, as
Archibald opened the carriage-door. "You must be my companion for the
rest of the way. Archibald will remain here with the hackney-coach till
your return."

Ere Jeanie could make answer, she found herself, to her no small
astonishment, seated by the side of a duke, in a carriage which rolled
forward at a rapid yet smooth rate, very different in both particulars
from the lumbering, jolting vehicle which she had just left; and which,
lumbering and jolting as it was, conveyed to one who had seldom been in a
coach before a certain feeling of dignity and importance.

"Young woman," said the Duke, "after thinking as attentively on your
sister's case as is in my power, I continue to be impressed with the
belief that great injustice may be done by the execution of her sentence.
So are one or two liberal and intelligent lawyers of both countries whom
I have spoken with.--Nay, pray hear me out before you thank me.--I have
already told you my personal conviction is of little consequence, unless
I could impress the same upon others. Now I have done for you what I
would certainly not have done to serve any purpose of my own--I have
asked an audience of a lady whose interest with the king is deservedly
very high. It has been allowed me, and I am desirous that you should see
her and speak for yourself. You have no occasion to be abashed; tell your
story simply, as you did to me."

"I am much obliged to your Grace," said Jeanie, remembering Mrs. Glass's
charge, "and I am sure, since I have had the courage to speak to your
Grace in poor Effie's cause, I have less reason to be shame-faced in
speaking to a leddy. But, sir, I would like to ken what to ca' her,
whether your grace or your honour, or your leddyship, as we say to lairds
and leddies in Scotland, and I will take care to mind it; for I ken
leddies are full mair particular than gentlemen about their titles of
honour."

"You have no occasion to call her anything but Madam. Just say what you
think is likely to make the best impression--look at me from time to
time--and if I put my hand to my cravat so--(showing her the motion)--you
will stop; but I shall only do this when you say anything that is not
likely to please."

"But, sir, your Grace," said Jeanie, "if it wasna ower muckle trouble,
wad it no be better to tell me what I should say, and I could get it by
heart?"

"No, Jeanie, that would not have the same effect--that would be like
reading a sermon, you know, which we good Presbyterians think has less
unction than when spoken without book," replied the Duke. "Just speak as
plainly and boldly to this lady, as you did to me the day before
yesterday, and if you can gain her consent, I'll wad ye a plack, as we
say in the north, that you get the pardon from the king."

As he spoke, he took a pamphlet from his pocket, and began to read.
Jeanie had good sense and tact, which constitute betwixt them that which
is called natural good breeding. She interpreted the Duke's manoeuvre as
a hint that she was to ask no more questions, and she remained silent
accordingly.

The carriage rolled rapidly onwards through fertile meadows, ornamented
with splendid old oaks, and catching occasionally a glance of the
majestic mirror of a broad and placid river. After passing through a
pleasant village, the equipage stopped on a commanding eminence, where
the beauty of English landscape was displayed in its utmost luxuriance.
Here the Duke alighted, and desired Jeanie to follow him. They paused for
a moment on the brow of a hill, to gaze on the unrivalled landscape which
it presented. A huge sea of verdure, with crossing and intersecting
promontories of massive and tufted groves, was tenanted by numberless
flocks and herds, which seemed to wander unrestrained and unbounded
through the rich pastures. The Thames, here turreted with villas, and
there garlanded with forests, moved on slowly and placidly, like the
mighty monarch of the scene, to whom all its other beauties were but
accessories, and bore on its bosom an hundred barks and skiffs, whose
white sails and gaily fluttering pennons gave life to the whole.

The Duke of Argyle was, of course, familiar with this scene; but to a man
of taste it must be always new. Yet, as he paused and looked on this
inimitable landscape, with the feeling of delight which it must give to
the bosom of every admirer of nature, his thoughts naturally reverted to
his own more grand, and scarce less beautiful, domains of Inverary.--
"This is a fine scene," he said to his companion, curious, perhaps, to
draw out her sentiments; "we have nothing like it in Scotland."

"It's braw rich feeding for the cows, and they have a fine breed o'
cattle here," replied Jeanie; "but I like just as weel to look at the
craigs of Arthur's Seat, and the sea coming in ayont them as at a' thae
muckle trees."

The Duke smiled at a reply equally professional and national, and made a
signal for the carriage to remain where it was. Then adopting an
unfrequented footpath, he conducted Jeanie through several complicated
mazes to a postern-door in a high brick wall.

It was shut; but as the Duke tapped slightly at it, a person in waiting
within, after reconnoitring through a small iron grate, contrived for the
purpose, unlocked the door and admitted them. They entered, and it was
immediately closed and fastened behind them. This was all done quickly,
the door so instantly closing, and the person who opened it so suddenly
disappearing, that Jeanie could not even catch a glimpse of his exterior.

They found themselves at the extremity of a deep and narrow alley,
carpeted with the most verdant and close-shaven turf, which felt like
velvet under their feet, and screened from the sun by the branches of the
lofty elms which united over the path, and caused it to resemble, in the
solemn obscurity of the light which they admitted, as well as from the
range of columnar stems, and intricate union of their arched branches,
one of the narrow side aisles in an ancient Gothic cathedral.



CHAPTER THIRTEETH

                            I beseech you--
            These tears beseech you, and these chaste hands woo you
            That never yet were heaved but to things holy--
            Things like yourself--You are a God above us;
                  Be as a God, then, full of saving mercy!
                                            The Bloody Brother.

Encouraged as she was by the courteous manners of her noble countryman,
it was not without a feeling of something like terror that Jeanie felt
herself in a place apparently so lonely with a man of such high rank.
That she should have been permitted to wait on the Duke in his own house,
and have been there received to a private interview, was in itself an
uncommon and distinguished event in the annals of a life so simple as
hers; but to find herself his travelling companion in a journey, and then
suddenly to be left alone with him in so secluded a situation, had
something in it of awful mystery. A romantic heroine might have suspected
and dreaded the power of her own charms; but Jeanie was too wise to let
such a silly thought intrude on her mind. Still, however, she had a most
eager desire to know where she now was, and to whom she was to be
presented.

She remarked that the Duke's dress, though still such as indicated rank
and fashion (for it was not the custom of men of quality at that time to
dress themselves like their own coachmen or grooms), was nevertheless
plainer than that in which she had seen him upon a former occasion, and
was divested, in particular, of all those badges of external decoration
which intimated superior consequence. In short, he was attired as plainly
as any gentleman of fashion could appear in the streets of London in a
morning; and this circumstance helped to shake an opinion which Jeanie
began to entertain, that, perhaps, he intended she should plead her cause
in the presence of royalty itself. "But surely," said she to, herself,
"he wad hae putten on his braw star and garter, an he had thought o'
coming before the face of majesty--and after a', this is mair like a
gentleman's policy than a royal palace."

There was some sense in Jeanie's reasoning; yet she was not sufficiently
mistress either of the circumstances of etiquette, or the particular
relations which existed betwixt the government and the Duke of Argyle, to
form an accurate judgment. The Duke, as we have said, was at this time in
open opposition to the administration of Sir Robert Walpole, and was
understood to be out of favour with the royal family, to whom he had
rendered such important services. But it was a maxim of Queen Caroline to
bear herself towards her political friends with such caution, as if there
was a possibility of their one day being her enemies, and towards
political opponents with the same degree of circumspection, as if they
might again become friendly to her measures, Since Margaret of Anjou, no
queen-consort had exercised such weight in the political affairs of
England, and the personal address which she displayed on many occasions,
had no small share in reclaiming from their political heresy many of
those determined Tories, who, after the reign of the Stuarts had been
extinguished in the person of Queen Anne, were disposed rather to
transfer their allegiance to her brother the Chevalier de St. George,
than to acquiesce in the settlement of the crown on the Hanover family.
Her husband, whose most shining quality was courage in the field of
battle, and who endured the office of King of England, without ever being
able to acquire English habits, or any familiarity with English
dispositions, found the utmost assistance from the address of his
partner, and while he jealously affected to do everything according to
his own will and pleasure, was in secret prudent enough to take and
follow the advice of his more adroit consort. He intrusted to her the
delicate office of determining the various degrees of favour necessary to
attach the wavering, or to confirm such as were already friendly, or to
regain those whose good-will had been lost.

With all the winning address of an elegant, and, according to the times,
an accomplished woman, Queen Caroline possessed the masculine soul of the
other sex. She was proud by nature, and even her policy could not always
temper her expressions of displeasure, although few were more ready at
repairing any false step of this kind, when her prudence came up to the
aid of her passions. She loved the real possession of power rather than
the show of it, and whatever she did herself that was either wise or
popular, she always desired that the King should have the full credit as
well as the advantage of the measure, conscious that, by adding to his
respectability, she was most likely to maintain her own. And so desirous
was she to comply with all his tastes, that, when threatened with the
gout, she had repeatedly had recourse to checking the fit, by the use of
the cold bath, thereby endangering her life, that she might be able to
attend the king in his walks.

It was a very consistent part of Queen Caroline's character, to keep up
many private correspondences with those to whom in public she seemed
unfavourable, or who, for various reasons, stood ill with the court. By
this means she kept in her hands the thread of many a political intrigue,
and, without pledging herself to anything, could often prevent discontent
from becoming hatred, and opposition from exaggerating itself into
rebellion. If by any accident her correspondence with such persons
chanced to be observed or discovered, which she took all possible pains
to prevent, it was represented as a mere intercourse of society, having
no reference to politics; an answer with which even the prime minister,
Sir Robert Walpole, was compelled to remain satisfied, when he discovered
that the Queen had given a private audience to Pulteney, afterwards Earl
of Bath, his most formidable and most inveterate enemy.

In thus maintaining occasional intercourse with several persons who
seemed most alienated from the crown, it may readily be supposed that
Queen Caroline had taken care not to break entirely with the Duke of
Argyle. His high birth, his great talents, the estimation in which he was
held in his own country, the great services which he had rendered the
house of Brunswick in 1715, placed him high in that rank of persons who
were not to be rashly neglected. He had, almost by his single and
unassisted talents, stopped the irruption of the banded force of all the
Highland chiefs; there was little doubt, that, with the slightest
encouragement, he could put them all in motion, and renew the civil war;
and it was well known that the most flattering overtures had been
transmitted to the Duke from the court of St. Germains. The character and
temper of Scotland was still little known, and it was considered as a
volcano, which might, indeed, slumber for a series of years, but was
still liable, at a moment the least expected, to break out into a
wasteful irruption. It was, therefore, of the highest importance to
retain come hold over so important a personage as the Duke of Argyle, and
Caroline preserved the power of doing so by means of a lady, with whom,
as wife of George II., she might have been supposed to be on less
intimate terms.

It was not the least instance of the Queen's address, that she had
contrived that one of her principal attendants, Lady Suffolk, should
unite in her own person the two apparently inconsistent characters, of
her husband's mistress, and her own very obsequious and complaisant
confidant. By this dexterous management the Queen secured her power
against the danger which might most have threatened it--the thwarting
influence of an ambitious rival; and if she submitted to the
mortification of being obliged to connive at her husband's infidelity,
she was at least guarded against what she might think its most dangerous
effects, and was besides at liberty, now and then, to bestow a few civil
insults upon "her good Howard," whom, however, in general, she treated
with great decorum.*

* See Horace Walpole's Reminiscences.

Lady Suffolk lay under strong obligations to the Duke of Argyle, for
reasons which may be collected from Horace Walpole's Reminiscences of
that reign, and through her means the Duke had some occasional
correspondence with Queen Caroline, much interrupted, however, since the
part he had taken in the debate concerning the Porteous mob, an affair
which the Queen, though somewhat unreasonably, was disposed to resent,
rather as an intended and premeditated insolence to her own person and
authority, than as a sudden ebullition of popular vengeance. Still,
however, the communication remained open betwixt them, though it had been
of late disused on both sides. These remarks will be found necessary to
understand the scene which is about to be presented to the reader.

From the narrow alley which they had traversed, the Duke turned into one
of the same character, but broader and still longer. Here, for the first
time since they had entered these gardens, Jeanie saw persons approaching
them.

They were two ladies; one of whom walked a little behind the other, yet
not so much as to prevent her from hearing and replying to whatever
observation was addressed to her by the lady who walked foremost, and
that without her having the trouble to turn her person. As they advanced
very slowly, Jeanie had time to study their features and appearance. The
Duke also slackened his pace, as if to give her time to collect herself,
and repeatedly desired her not to be afraid. The lady who seemed the
principal person had remarkably good features, though somewhat injured by
the small-pox, that venomous scourge which each village Esculapius
(thanks to Jenner) can now tame as easily as their tutelary deity subdued
the Python. The lady's eyes were brilliant, her teeth good, and her
countenance formed to express at will either majesty or courtesy. Her
form, though rather _embonpoint,_ was nevertheless graceful; and the
elasticity and firmness of her step gave no room to suspect, what was
actually the case, that she suffered occasionally from a disorder the
most unfavourable to pedestrian exercise. Her dress was rather rich than
gay, and her manner commanding and noble.

Her companion was of lower stature, with light brown hair and expressive
blue eyes. Her features, without being absolutely regular, were perhaps
more pleasing than if they had been critically handsome. A melancholy, or
at least a pensive expression, for which her lot gave too much cause,
predominated when she was silent, but gave way to a pleasing and
good-humoured smile when she spoke to any one.

When they were within twelve or fifteen yards of these ladies, the Duke
made a sign that Jeanie should stand still, and stepping forward himself,
with the grace which was natural to him, made a profound obeisance, which
was formally, yet in a dignified manner, returned by the personage whom
he approached.

"I hope," she said, with an affable and condescending smile, "that I see
so great a stranger at court, as the Duke of Argyle has been of late, in
as good health as his friends there and elsewhere could wish him to
enjoy."

The Duke replied, "That he had been perfectly well;" and added, "that the
necessity of attending to the public business before the House, as well
as the time occupied by a late journey to Scotland, had rendered him less
assiduous in paying his duty at the levee and drawing-room than he could
have desired."

"When your Grace _can_ find time for a duty so frivolous," replied the
Queen, "you are aware of your title to be well received. I hope my
readiness to comply with the wish which you expressed yesterday to Lady
Suffolk, is, a sufficient proof that one of the royal family, at least,
has not forgotten ancient and important services, in resenting something
which resembles recent neglect." This was said apparently with great good
humour, and in a tone which expressed a desire of conciliation.

The Duke replied, "That he would account himself the most unfortunate of
men, if he could be supposed capable of neglecting his duty, in modes and
circumstances when it was expected, and would have been agreeable. He was
deeply gratified by the honour which her Majesty was now doing to him
personally; and he trusted she would soon perceive that it was in a
matter essential to his Majesty's interest that he had the boldness to
give her this trouble."

"You cannot oblige me more, my Lord Duke," replied the Queen, "than by
giving me the advantage of your lights and experience on any point of the
King's service. Your Grace is aware, that I can only be the medium
through which the matter is subjected to his Majesty's superior wisdom;
but if it is a suit which respects your Grace personally, it shall lose
no support by being preferred through me."

"It is no suit of mine, madam," replied the Duke; "nor have I any to
prefer for myself personally, although I feel in full force my obligation
to your Majesty. It is a business which concerns his Majesty, as a lover
of justice and of mercy, and which, I am convinced, may be highly useful
in conciliating the unfortunate irritation which at present subsists
among his Majesty's good subjects in Scotland."

There were two parts of this speech disagreeable to Caroline. In the
first place, it removed the flattering notion she had adopted, that
Argyle designed to use her personal intercession in making his peace with
the administration, and recovering the employments of which he had been
deprived; and next, she was displeased that he should talk of the
discontents in Scotland as irritations to be conciliated, rather than
suppressed.

Under the influence of these feelings, she answered hastily, "That his
Majesty has good subjects in England, my Lord Duke, he is bound to thank
God and the laws--that he has subjects in Scotland, I think he may thank
God and his sword."

The Duke, though a courtier, coloured slightly, and the Queen, instantly
sensible of her error, added, without displaying the least change of
countenance, and as if the words had been an original branch of the
sentence--"And the swords of those real Scotchmen who are friends to the
House of Brunswick, particularly that of his Grace of Argyle."

"My sword, madam," replied the Duke, "like that of my fathers, has been
always at the command of my lawful king, and of my native country--I
trust it is impossible to separate their real rights and interests. But
the present is a matter of more private concern, and respects the person
of an obscure individual."

"What is the affair, my Lord?" said the Queen. "Let us find out what we
are talking about, lest we should misconstrue and misunderstand each
other."

"The matter, madam," answered the Duke of Argyle, "regards the fate of an
unfortunate young woman in Scotland, now lying under sentence of death,
for a crime of which I think it highly probable that she is innocent. And
my humble petition to your Majesty is, to obtain your powerful
intercession with the King for a pardon."

It was now the Queen's turn to colour, and she did so over cheek and
brow, neck and bosom. She paused a moment as if unwilling to trust her
voice with the first expression of her displeasure; and on assuming the
air of dignity and an austere regard of control, she at length replied,
"My Lord Duke, I will not ask your motives for addressing to me a
request, which circumstances have rendered such an extraordinary one.
Your road to the King's closet, as a peer and a privy-councillor,
entitled to request an audience, was open, without giving me the pain of
this discussion. _I,_ at least, have had enough of Scotch pardons."

The Duke was prepared for this burst of indignation, and he was not
shaken by it. He did not attempt a reply while the Queen was in the first
heat of displeasure, but remained in the same firm, yet respectful
posture, which he had assumed during the interview. The Queen, trained
from her situation to self-command, instantly perceived the advantage she
might give against herself by yielding to passion; and added, in the same
condescending and affable tone in which she had opened the interview,
"You must allow me some of the privileges of the sex, my Lord; and do not
judge uncharitably of me, though I am a little moved at the recollection
of the gross insult and outrage done in your capital city to the royal
authority, at the very time when it was vested in my unworthy person.
Your Grace cannot be surprised that I should both have felt it at the
time, and recollected it now."

"It is certainly a matter not speedily to be forgotten," answered the
Duke. "My own poor thoughts of it have been long before your Majesty, and
I must have expressed myself very ill if I did not convey my detestation
of the murder which was committed under such extraordinary circumstances.
I might, indeed, be so unfortunate as to differ with his Majesty's
advisers on the degree in which it was either just or politic to punish
the innocent instead of the guilty. But I trust your Majesty will permit
me to be silent on a topic in which my sentiments have not the good
fortune to coincide with those of more able men."

"We will not prosecute a topic on which we may probably differ," said the
Queen. "One word, however, I may say in private--you know our good Lady
Suffolk is a little deaf--the Duke of Argyle, when disposed to renew his
acquaintance with his master and mistress, will hardly find many topics
on which we should disagree."

"Let me hope," said the Duke, bowing profoundly to so flattering an
intimation, "that I shall not be so unfortunate as to have found one on
the present occasion."

"I must first impose on your Grace the duty of confession," said the
Queen, "before I grant you absolution. What is your particular interest
in this young woman? She does not seem" (and she scanned Jeanie, as she
said this, with the eye of a connoisseur) "much qualified to alarm my
friend the Duchess's jealousy."

"I think your Majesty," replied the Duke, smiling in his turn, "will
allow my taste may be a pledge for me on that score."

"Then, though she has not much the air _d'une grande dame,_ I suppose she
is some thirtieth cousin in the terrible
CHAPTER of Scottish genealogy?"

"No, madam," said the Duke; "but I wish some of my nearer relations had
half her worth, honesty, and affection."

"Her name must be Campbell, at least?" said Queen Caroline.

"No, madam; her name is not quite so distinguished, if I may be permitted
to say so," answered the Duke.

"Ah! but she comes from Inverary or Argyleshire?" said the Sovereign.

"She has never been farther north in her life than Edinburgh, madam."

"Then my conjectures are all ended," said the Queen, "and your Grace must
yourself take the trouble to explain the affair of your prote'ge'e."

With that precision and easy brevity which is only acquired by habitually
conversing in the higher ranks of society, and which is the diametrical
opposite of that protracted style of disquisition,

           Which squires call potter, and which men call prose,

the Duke explained the singular law under which Effie Deans had received
sentence of death, and detailed the affectionate exertions which Jeanie
had made in behalf of a sister, for whose sake she was willing to
sacrifice all but truth and conscience.

Queen Caroline listened with attention; she was rather fond, it must be
remembered, of an argument, and soon found matter in what the Duke told
her for raising difficulties to his request.

"It appears to me, my Lord," she replied, "that this is a severe law. But
still it is adopted upon good grounds, I am bound to suppose, as the law
of the country, and the girl has been convicted under it. The very
presumptions which the law construes into a positive proof of guilt exist
in her case; and all that your Grace has said concerning the possibility
of her innocence may be a very good argument for annulling the Act of
Parliament, but cannot, while it stands good, be admitted in favour of
any individual convicted upon the statute."

The Duke saw and avoided the snare, for he was conscious, that, by
replying to the argument, he must have been inevitably led to a
discussion, in the course of which the Queen was likely to be hardened
in her own opinion, until she became obliged, out of mere respect to
consistency, to let the criminal suffer.


[Illustration: Jeanie and Queen Caroline--194]


"If your Majesty," he said, "would condescend to hear my poor
countrywoman herself, perhaps she may find an advocate in your own heart,
more able than I am, to combat the doubts suggested by your
understanding."

The Queen seemed to acquiesce, and the Duke made a signal for Jeanie to
advance from the spot where she had hitherto remained watching
countenances, which were too long accustomed to suppress all apparent
signs of emotion, to convey to her any interesting intelligence. Her
Majesty could not help smiling at the awe-struck manner in which the
quiet demure figure of the little Scotchwoman advanced towards her, and
yet more at the first sound of her broad northern accent. But Jeanie had
a voice low and sweetly toned, an admirable thing in woman, and eke
besought "her Leddyship to have pity on a poor misguided young creature,"
in tones so affecting, that, like the notes of some of her native songs,
provincial vulgarity was lost in pathos.

"Stand up, young woman," said the Queen, but in a kind tone, "and tell me
what sort of a barbarous people your country-folk are, where child-murder
is become so common as to require the restraint of laws like yours?"

"If your Leddyship pleases," answered Jeanie, "there are mony places
besides Scotland where mothers are unkind to their ain flesh and blood."

It must be observed, that the disputes between George the Second and
Frederick Prince of Wales were then at the highest, and that the
good-natured part of the public laid the blame on the Queen. She coloured
highly, and darted a glance of a most penetrating character first at
Jeanie, and then at the Duke. Both sustained it unmoved; Jeanie from
total unconsciousness of the offence she had given, and the Duke from his
habitual composure. But in his heart he thought, My unlucky _protegee_
has with this luckless answer shot dead, by a kind of chance-medley, her
only hope of success.

Lady Suffolk, good-humouredly and skilfully, interposed in this awkward
crisis. "You should tell this lady," she said to Jeanie, "the particular
causes which render this crime common in your country."

"Some thinks it's the Kirk-session--that is--it's the--it's the
cutty-stool, if your Leddyship pleases," said Jeanie, looking down and
courtesying.

"The what?" said Lady Suffolk, to whom the phrase was new, and who
besides was rather deaf.

"That's the stool of repentance, madam, if it please your Leddyship,"
answered Jeanie, "for light life and conversation, and for breaking the
seventh command." Here she raised her eyes to the Duke, saw his hand at
his chin, and, totally unconscious of what she had said out of joint,
gave double effect to the innuendo, by stopping short and looking
embarrassed.

As for Lady Suffolk, she retired like a covering party, which, having
interposed betwixt their retreating friends and the enemy, have suddenly
drawn on themselves a fire unexpectedly severe.

The deuce take the lass, thought the Duke of Argyle to himself; there
goes another shot--and she has hit with both barrels right and left!

Indeed the Duke had himself his share of the confusion, for, having acted
as master of ceremonies to this innocent offender, he felt much in the
circumstances of a country squire, who, having introduced his spaniel
into a well-appointed drawing-room, is doomed to witness the disorder and
damage which arises to china and to dress-gowns, in consequence of its
untimely frolics. Jeanie's last chance-hit, however, obliterated the ill
impression which had arisen from the first; for her Majesty had not so
lost the feelings of a wife in those of a Queen, but that she could enjoy
a jest at the expense of "her good Suffolk." She turned towards the Duke
of Argyle with a smile, which marked that she enjoyed the triumph, and
observed, "The Scotch are a rigidly moral people." Then, again applying
herself to Jeanie, she asked how she travelled up from Scotland.

"Upon my foot mostly, madam," was the reply.

"What, all that immense way upon foot?--How far can you walk in a day."

"Five-and-twenty miles and a bittock."

"And a what?" said the Queen, looking towards the Duke of Argyle.

"And about five miles more," replied the Duke.

"I thought I was a good walker," said the Queen, "but this shames me
sadly."

"May your Leddyship never hae sae weary a heart, that ye canna be
sensible of the weariness of the limbs," said Jeanie. That came better
off, thought the Duke; it's the first thing she has said to the purpose.

"And I didna just a'thegither walk the haill way neither, for I had
whiles the cast of a cart; and I had the cast of a horse from
Ferrybridge--and divers other easements," said Jeanie, cutting short her
story, for she observed the Duke made the sign he had fixed upon.

"With all these accommodations," answered the Queen, "you must have had a
very fatiguing journey, and, I fear, to little purpose; since, if the
King were to pardon your sister, in all probability it would do her
little good, for I suppose your people of Edinburgh would hang her out of
spite."

She will sink herself now outright, thought the Duke.

But he was wrong. The shoals on which Jeanie had touched in this delicate
conversation lay under ground, and were unknown to her; this rock was
above water, and she avoided it.

"She was confident," she said, "that baith town and country wad rejoice
to see his Majesty taking compassion on a poor unfriended creature."

"His Majesty has not found it so in a late instance," said the Queen;
"but I suppose my Lord Duke would advise him to be guided by the votes of
the rabble themselves, who should be hanged and who spared?"

"No, madam," said the Duke; "but I would advise his Majesty to be guided
by his own feelings, and those of his royal consort; and then I am sure
punishment will only attach itself to guilt, and even then with cautious
reluctance."

"Well, my Lord," said her Majesty, "all these fine speeches do not
convince me of the propriety of so soon showing any mark of favour to
your--I suppose I must not say rebellious?--but, at least, your very
disaffected and intractable metropolis. Why, the whole nation is in a
league to screen the savage and abominable murderers of that unhappy man;
otherwise, how is it possible but that, of so many perpetrators, and
engaged in so public an action for such a length of time, one at least
must have been recognised? Even this wench, for aught I can tell, may be
a depositary of the secret.--Hark you, young woman, had you any friends
engaged in the Porteous mob?"

"No, madam," answered Jeanie, happy that the question was so framed that
she could, with a good conscience, answer it in the negative.

"But I suppose," continued the Queen, "if you were possessed of such a
secret, you would hold it a matter of conscience to keep it to yourself?"

"I would pray to be directed and guided what was the line of duty,
madam," answered Jeanie.

"Yes, and take that which suited your own inclinations," replied her
Majesty.

"If it like you, madam," said Jeanie, "I would hae gaen to the end of the
earth to save the life of John Porteous, or any other unhappy man in his
condition; but I might lawfully doubt how far I am called upon to be the
avenger of his blood, though it may become the civil magistrate to do so.
He is dead and gane to his place, and they that have slain him must
answer for their ain act. But my sister, my puir sister, Effie, still
lives, though her days and hours are numbered! She still lives, and a
word of the King's mouth might restore her to a brokenhearted auld man,
that never in his daily and nightly exercise, forgot to pray that his
Majesty might be blessed with a long and a prosperous reign, and that his
throne, and the throne of his posterity, might be established in
righteousness. O madam, if ever ye kend what it was to sorrow for and
with a sinning and a suffering creature, whose mind is sae tossed that
she can be neither ca'd fit to live or die, have some compassion on our
misery!--Save an honest house from dishonour, and an unhappy girl, not
eighteen years of age, from an early and dreadful death! Alas! it is not
when we sleep soft and wake merrily ourselves that we think on other
people's sufferings. Our hearts are waxed light within us then, and we
are for righting our ain wrangs and fighting our ain battles. But when
the hour of trouble comes to the mind or to the body--and seldom may it
visit your Leddyship--and when the hour of death comes, that comes to
high and low--lang and late may it be yours!--Oh, my Leddy, then it isna
what we hae dune for oursells, but what we hae dune for others, that we
think on maist pleasantly. And the thoughts that ye hae intervened to
spare the puir thing's life will be sweeter in that hour, come when it
may, than if a word of your mouth could hang the haill Porteous mob at
the tail of ae tow."

Tear followed tear down Jeanie's cheeks, as, her features glowing and
quivering with emotion, she pleaded her sister's cause with a pathos
which was at once simple and solemn.

"This is eloquence," said her Majesty to the Duke of Argyle. "Young
woman," she continued, addressing herself to Jeanie, "_I_ cannot grant a
pardon to your sister--but you shall not want my warm intercession with
his Majesty. Take this house-wife case," she continued, putting a small
embroidered needle-case into Jeanie's hands; "do not open it now, but at
your leisure--you will find something in it which will remind you that
you have had an interview with Queen Caroline."

Jeanie, having her suspicions thus confirmed, dropped on her knees, and
would have expanded herself in gratitude; but the Duke who was upon
thorns lest she should say more or less than just enough, touched his
chin once more.

"Our business is, I think, ended for the present, my Lord Duke," said the
Queen, "and, I trust, to your satisfaction. Hereafter I hope to see your
Grace more frequently, both at Richmond and St. James's.--Come Lady
Suffolk, we must wish his Grace good-morning."

They exchanged their parting reverences, and the Duke, so soon as the
ladies had turned their backs, assisted Jeanie to rise from the ground,
and conducted her back through the avenue, which she trode with the
feeling of one who walks in her sleep.



CHAPTER FOURTEENTH.


                    So soon as I can win the offended king,
                    I will be known your advocate.
                                             Cymbeline.

The Duke of Argyle led the way in silence to the small postern by which
they had been admitted into Richmond Park, so long the favourite
residence of Queen Caroline. It was opened by the same half-seen janitor,
and they found themselves beyond the precincts of the royal demesne.
Still not a word was spoken on either side. The Duke probably wished to
allow his rustic prote'ge'e time to recruit her faculties, dazzled and
sunk with colloquy sublime; and betwixt what she had guessed, had heard,
and had seen, Jeanie Deans's mind was too much agitated to permit her to
ask any questions.

They found the carriage of the Duke in the place where they had left it;
and when they resumed their places, soon began to advance rapidly on
their return to town.

"I think, Jeanie," said the Duke, breaking silence, "you have every
reason to congratulate yourself on the issue of your interview with her
Majesty."

"And that leddy was the Queen herself?" said Jeanie; "I misdoubted it
when I saw that your honour didna put on your hat--And yet I can hardly
believe it, even when I heard her speak it herself."

"It was certainly Queen Caroline," replied the Duke. "Have you no
curiosity to see what is in the little pocket-book?"

"Do you think the pardon will be in it, sir?" said Jeanie, with the eager
animation of hope.

"Why, no," replied the Duke; "that is unlikely. They seldom carry these
things about them, unless they were likely to be wanted; and, besides,
her Majesty told you it was the King, not she, who was to grant it."

"That is true, too," said Jeanie; "but I am so confused in my mind--But
does your honour think there is a certainty of Effie's pardon then?"
continued she, still holding in her hand the unopened pocket-book.

"Why, kings are kittle cattle to shoe behind, as we say in the north,"
replied the Duke; "but his wife knows his trim, and I have not the least
doubt that the matter is quite certain."

"Oh, God be praised! God be praised!" ejaculated Jeanie; "and may the
gude leddy never want the heart's ease she has gien me at this moment!--
And God bless you too, my Lord!--without your help I wad ne'er hae won
near her."

The Duke let her dwell upon this subject for a considerable time,
curious, perhaps, to see how long the feelings of gratitude would
continue to supersede those of curiosity. But so feeble was the latter
feeling in Jeanie's mind, that his Grace, with whom, perhaps, it was for
the time a little stronger, was obliged once more to bring forward the
subject of the Queen's present. It was opened accordingly. In the inside
of the case was the usual assortment of silk and needles, with scissors,
tweezers, etc.; and in the pocket was a bank-bill for fifty pounds.

The Duke had no sooner informed Jeanie of the value of this last
document, for she was unaccustomed to see notes for such sums, than she
expressed her regret at the mistake which had taken place. "For the hussy
itsell," she said, "was a very valuable thing for a keepsake,
with the Queen's name written in the inside with her ain hand
doubtless--_Caroline_--as plain as could be, and a crown drawn aboon it."

She therefore tendered the bill to the Duke, requesting him to find some
mode of returning it to the royal owner.

"No, no, Jeanie," said the Duke, "there is no mistake in the case. Her
Majesty knows you have been put to great expense, and she wishes to make
it up to you."

"I am sure she is even ower gude," said Jeanie, "and it glads me muckle
that I can pay back Dumbiedikes his siller, without distressing my
father, honest man."

"Dumbiedikes! What, a freeholder of Mid-Lothian, is he not?" said his
Grace, whose occasional residence in that county made him acquainted with
most of the heritors, as landed persons are termed in Scotland.--"He has
a house not far from Dalkeith, wears a black wig and a laced hat?"

"Yes sir," answered Jeanie, who had her reasons for being brief in her
answers upon this topic.

"Ah, my old friend Dumbie!" said the Duke; "I have thrice seen him fou,
and only once heard the sound of his voice--Is he a cousin of yours,
Jeanie?"

"No, sir,--my Lord."

"Then he must be a well-wisher, I suspect?"

"Ye--yes,--my Lord, sir," answered Jeanie, blushing, and with hesitation.

"Aha! then, if the Laird starts, I suppose my friend Butler must be in
some danger?"

"O no, sir," answered Jeanie, much more readily, but at the same time
blushing much more deeply.

"Well, Jeanie," said the Duke, "you are a girl may be safely trusted with
your own matters, and I shall inquire no farther about them. But as to
this same pardon, I must see to get it passed through the proper forms;
and I have a friend in office who will for auld lang syne, do me so much
favour. And then, Jeanie, as I shall have occasion to send an express
down to Scotland, who will travel with it safer and more swiftly than you
can do, I will take care to have it put into the proper channel;
meanwhile you may write to your friends by post of your good success."

"And does your Honour think," said Jeanie, "that will do as weel as if I
were to take my tap in my lap, and slip my ways hame again on my ain
errand?"

"Much better, certainly," said the Duke. "You know the roads are not very
safe for a single woman to travel."

Jeanie internally acquiesced in this observation.

"And I have a plan for you besides. One of the Duchess's attendants, and
one of mine--your acquaintance Archibald--are going down to Inverary in a
light calash, with four horses I have bought, and there is room enough in
the carriage for you to go with them as far as Glasgow, where Archibald
will find means of sending you safely to Edinburgh.--And in the way I beg
you will teach the woman as much as you can of the mystery of
cheese-making, for she is to have a charge in the dairy, and I dare swear
you are as tidy about your milk-pail as about your dress."

"Does your Honour like cheese?" said Jeanie, with a gleam of conscious
delight as she asked the question.

"Like it?" said the Duke, whose good-nature anticipated what was to
follow,--"cakes and cheese are a dinner for an emperor, let alone a
Highlandman."

"Because," said Jeanie, with modest confidence, and great and evident
self-gratulation, "we have been thought so particular in making cheese,
that some folk think it as gude as the real Dunlop; and if your honour's
Grace wad but accept a stane or twa, blithe, and fain, and proud it wad
make us? But maybe ye may like the ewe-milk, that is, the Buckholmside*
cheese better; or maybe the gait-milk, as ye come frae the
Highlands--and I canna pretend just to the same skeel o' them; but my
cousin Jean, that lives at Lockermachus in Lammermuir, I could speak to
her, and--"

* The hilly pastures of Buckholm, which the Author now surveys,--"Not in
the frenzy of a dreamer's eye,"--are famed for producing the best
ewe-milk cheese in the south of Scotland.

"Quite unnecessary," said the Duke; "the Dunlop is the very cheese of
which I am so fond, and I will take it as the greatest favour you can do
me to send one to Caroline Park. But remember, be on honour with it,
Jeanie, and make it all yourself, for I am a real good judge."

"I am not feared," said Jeanie, confidently, "that I may please your
Honour; for I am sure you look as if you could hardly find fault wi'
onybody that did their best; and weel is it my part, I trow, to do mine."

This discourse introduced a topic upon which the two travellers, though
so different in rank and education, found each a good deal to say. The
Duke, besides his other patriotic qualities, was a distinguished
agriculturist, and proud of his knowledge in that department. He
entertained Jeanie with his observations on the different breeds of
cattle in Scotland, and their capacity for the dairy, and received so
much information from her practical experience in return, that he
promised her a couple of Devonshire cows in reward for the lesson. In
short his mind was so transported back to his rural employments and
amusements, that he sighed when his carriage stopped opposite to the old
hackney-coach, which Archibald had kept in attendance at the place where
they had left it. While the coachman again bridled his lean cattle, which
had been indulged with a bite of musty hay, the Duke cautioned Jeanie not
to be too communicative to her landlady concerning what had passed.
"There is," he said, "no use of speaking of matters till they are
actually settled; and you may refer the good lady to Archibald, if she
presses you hard with questions. She is his old acquaintance, and he
knows how to manage with her."

He then took a cordial farewell of Jeanie, and told her to be ready in
the ensuing week to return to Scotland--saw her safely established in her
hackney-coach, and rolled of in his own carriage, humming a stanza of the
ballad which he is said to have composed:--

                "At the sight of Dumbarton once again,
                 I'll cock up my bonnet and march amain,
                 With my claymore hanging down to my heel,
                 To whang at the bannocks of barley meal."

Perhaps one ought to be actually a Scotsman to conceive how ardently,
under all distinctions of rank and situation, they feel their mutual
connection with each other as natives of the same country. There are, I
believe, more associations common to the inhabitants of a rude and wild,
than of a well-cultivated and fertile country; their ancestors have more
seldom changed their place of residence; their mutual recollection of
remarkable objects is more accurate; the high and the low are more
interested in each other's welfare; the feelings of kindred and
relationship are more widely extended, and in a word, the bonds of
patriotic affection, always honourable even when a little too exclusively
strained, have more influence on men's feelings and actions.

The rumbling hackney-coach, which tumbled over the (then) execrable
London pavement, at a rate very different from that which had conveyed
the ducal carriage to Richmond, at length deposited Jeanie Deans and her
attendant at the national sign of the Thistle. Mrs. Glass, who had been
in long and anxious expectation, now rushed, full of eager curiosity and
open-mouthed interrogation, upon our heroine, who was positively unable
to sustain the overwhelming cataract of her questions, which burst forth
with the sublimity of a grand gardyloo:--

"Had she seen the Duke, God bless him--the Duchess--the young ladies?--
Had she seen the King, God bless him--the Queen--the Prince of Wales--the
Princess--or any of the rest of the royal family?--Had she got her
sister's pardon?--Was it out and out--or was it only a commutation of
punishment?--How far had she gone--where had she driven to--whom had she
seen--what had been said--what had kept her so long?"

Such were the various questions huddled upon each other by a curiosity so
eager, that it could hardly wait for its own gratification. Jeanie would
have been more than sufficiently embarrassed by this overbearing tide of
interrogations, had not Archibald, who had probably received from his
master a hint to that purpose, advanced to her rescue. "Mrs. Glass," said
Archibald, "his Grace desired me particularly to say, that he would take
it as a great favour if you would ask the young woman no questions, as he
wishes to explain to you more distinctly than she can do how her affairs
stand, and consult you on some matters which she cannot altogether so
well explain. The Duke will call at the Thistle to-morrow or next day for
that purpose."

"His Grace is very condescending," said Mrs. Glass, her zeal for inquiry
slaked for the present by the dexterous administration of this sugar
plum--"his Grace is sensible that I am in a manner accountable for the
conduct of my young kinswoman, and no doubt his Grace is the best judge
how far he should intrust her or me with the management of her affairs."

"His Grace is quite sensible of that," answered Archibald, with national
gravity, "and will certainly trust what he has to say to the most
discreet of the two; and therefore, Mrs. Glass, his Grace relies you will
speak nothing to Mrs. Jean Deans, either of her own affairs or her
sister's, until he sees you himself. He desired me to assure you, in the
meanwhile, that all was going on as well as your kindness could wish,
Mrs. Glass."

"His Grace is very kind--very considerate, certainly, Mr. Archibald--his
Grace's commands shall be obeyed, and--But you have had a far drive, Mr.
Archibald, as I guess by the time of your absence, and I guess" (with an
engaging smile) "you winna be the waur o' a glass of the right Rosa
Solis."

"I thank you, Mrs. Glass," said the great man's great man, "but I am
under the necessity of returning to my Lord directly." And, making his
adieus civilly to both cousins, he left the shop of the Lady of the
Thistle.

"I am glad your affairs have prospered so well, Jeanie, my love," said
Mrs. Glass; "though, indeed, there was little fear of them so soon as the
Duke of Argyle was so condescending as to take them into hand. I will ask
you no questions about them, because his Grace, who is most considerate
and prudent in such matters, intends to tell me all that you ken
yourself, dear, and doubtless a great deal more; so that anything that
may lie heavily on your mind may be imparted to me in the meantime, as
you see it is his Grace's pleasure that I should be made acquainted with
the whole matter forthwith, and whether you or he tells it, will make no
difference in the world, ye ken. If I ken what he is going to say
beforehand, I will be much more ready to give my advice, and whether you
or he tell me about it, cannot much signify after all, my dear. So you
may just say whatever you like, only mind I ask you no questions about
it."

Jeanie was a little embarrassed. She thought that the communication she
had to make was perhaps the only means she might have in her power to
gratify her friendly and hospitable kinswoman. But her prudence instantly
suggested that her secret interview with Queen Caroline, which seemed to
pass under a certain sort of mystery, was not a proper subject for the
gossip of a woman like Mrs. Glass, of whose heart she had a much better
opinion than of her prudence. She, therefore, answered in general, that
the Duke had had the extraordinary kindness to make very particular
inquiries into her sister's bad affair, and that he thought he had found
the means of putting it a' straight again, but that he proposed to tell
all that he thought about the matter to Mrs. Glass herself.

This did not quite satisfy the penetrating mistress of the Thistle.
Searching as her own small rappee, she, in spite of her promise, urged
Jeanie with still farther questions. "Had she been a' that time at Argyle
House? Was the Duke with her the whole time? and had she seen the
Duchess? and had she seen the young ladies--and specially Lady Caroline
Campbell?"--To these questions Jeanie gave the general reply, that she
knew so little of the town that she could not tell exactly where she had
been; that she had not seen the Duchess to her knowledge; that she had
seen two ladies, one of whom, she understood, bore the name of Caroline;
and more, she said, she could not tell about the matter.

"It would be the Duke's eldest daughter, Lady Caroline Campbell, there is
no doubt of that," said Mrs. Glass; "but doubtless, I shall know more
particularly through his Grace.--And so, as the cloth is laid in the
little parlour above stairs, and it is past three o'clock, for I have
been waiting this hour for you, and I have had a snack myself; and, as
they used to say in Scotland in my time--I do not ken if the word be used
now--there is ill talking between a full body and a fasting."



CHAPTER FIFTEENTH.


          Heaven first taught letters for some wretch's aid,--
                   Some banished lover or some captive maid.
                                          Pope.

By dint of unwonted labour with the pen, Jeanie Deans contrived to
indite, and give to the charge of the postman on the ensuing day, no less
than three letters, an exertion altogether strange to her habits;
insomuch so, that, if milk had been plenty, she would rather have made
thrice as many Dunlop cheeses. The first of them was very brief. It was
addressed to George Staunton, Esq., at the Rectory, Willingham, by
Grantham; the address being part of the information she had extracted
from the communicative peasant who rode before her to Stamford. It was in
these words:--

"Sir,--To prevent farder mischieves, whereof there hath been enough,
comes these: Sir, I have my sister's pardon from the Queen's Majesty,
whereof I do not doubt you will be glad, having had to say naut of
matters whereof you know the purport. So, Sir, I pray for your better
welfare in bodie and soul, and that it will please the fisycian to visit
you in His good time. Alwaies, sir, I pray you will never come again to
see my sister, whereof there has been too much. And so, wishing you no
evil, but even your best good, that you may be turned from your iniquity
(for why suld ye die?) I rest your humble servant to command,
                                                       "_Ye ken wha._"

The next letter was to her father. It is too long altogether for
insertion, so we only give a few extracts. It commenced--

"Dearest and truly honoured father,--This comes with my duty to inform
you, that it has pleased God to redeem that captivitie of my poor sister,
in respect the Queen's blessed Majesty, for whom we are ever bound to
pray, hath redeemed her soul from the slayer, granting the ransom of her,
whilk is ane pardon or reprieve. And I spoke with the Queen face to face
and yet live; for she is not muckle differing from other grand leddies,
saying that she has a stately presence, and een like a blue huntin'
hawk's, whilk gaed throu' and throu' me like a Highland durk--And all
this good was, alway under the Great Giver, to whom all are but
instruments, wrought forth for us by the Duk of Argile, wha is ane native
true-hearted Scotsman, and not pridefu', like other folk we ken of--and
likewise skeely enow in bestial, whereof he has promised to gie me twa
Devonshire kye, of which he is enamoured, although I do still haud by the
real hawlit Airshire breed--and I have promised him a cheese; and I wad
wuss ye, if Gowans, the brockit cow, has a quey, that she suld suck her
fill of milk, as I am given to understand he has none of that breed, and
is not scornfu' but will take a thing frae a puir body, that it may
lighten their heart of the loading of debt that they awe him. Also his
honour the Duke will accept ane of our Dunlop cheeses, and it sall be my
faut if a better was ever yearned in Lowden."--[Here follow some
observations respecting the breed of cattle, and the produce of the
dairy, which it is our intention to forward to the Board of
Agriculture.]--"Nevertheless, these are but matters of the after-harvest,
in respect of the great good which Providence hath gifted us with--and,
in especial, poor Effie's life. And oh, my dear father, since it hath
pleased God to be merciful to her, let her not want your free pardon,
whilk will make her meet to be ane vessel of grace, and also a comfort to
your ain graie hairs. Dear Father, will ye let the Laird ken that we have
had friends strangely raised up to us, and that the talent whilk he lent
me will be thankfully repaid. I hae some of it to the fore; and the rest
of it is not knotted up in ane purse or napkin, but in ane wee bit paper,
as is the fashion heir, whilk I am assured is gude for the siller. And,
dear father, through Mr. Butler's means I hae gude friendship with the
Duke, for their had been kindness between their forbears in the auld
troublesome time bye-past. And Mrs. Glass has been kind like my very
mother. She has a braw house here, and lives bien and warm, wi' twa
servant lasses, and a man and a callant in the shop. And she is to send
you doun a pound of her hie-dried, and some other tobaka, and we maun
think of some propine for her, since her kindness hath been great. And
the Duk is to send the pardun doun by an express messenger, in respect
that I canna travel sae fast; and I am to come doun wi' twa of his
Honour's servants--that is, John Archibald, a decent elderly gentleman,
that says he has seen you lang syne, when ye were buying beasts in the
west frae the Laird of Aughtermuggitie--but maybe ye winna mind him--ony
way, he's a civil man--and Mrs. Dolly Dutton, that is to be dairy-maid at
Inverara; and they bring me on as far as Glasgo, whilk will make it nae
pinch to win hame, whilk I desire of all things. May the Giver of all
good things keep ye in your outgauns and incomings, whereof devoutly
prayeth your loving dauter,
                                                  "Jean Deans."

The third letter was to Butler, and its tenor as follows:--

"Master Butler.--Sir,--It will be pleasure to you to ken, that all I came
for is, thanks be to God, weel dune and to the gude end, and that your
forbear's letter was right welcome to the Duke of Argile, and that he
wrote your name down with a kylevine pen in a leathern book, whereby it
seems like he will do for you either wi' a scule or a kirk; he has enow
of baith, as I am assured. And I have seen the queen, which gave me a
hussy-case out of her own hand. She had not her crown and skeptre, but
they are laid by for her, like the bairns' best claise, to be worn when
she needs them. And they are keepit in a tour, whilk is not like the tour
of Libberton, nor yet Craigmillar, but mair like to the castell of
Edinburgh, if the buildings were taen and set down in the midst of the
Nor'-Loch. Also the Queen was very bounteous, giving me a paper worth
fiftie pounds, as I am assured, to pay my expenses here and back agen.
Sae, Master Butler, as we were aye neebours' bairns, forby onything else
that may hae been spoken between us, I trust you winna skrimp yoursell
for what is needfu' for your health, since it signifies not muckle whilk
o' us has the siller, if the other wants it. And mind this is no meant to
haud ye to onything whilk ye wad rather forget, if ye suld get a charge
of a kirk or a scule, as above said. Only I hope it will be a scule, and
not a kirk, because of these difficulties anent aiths and patronages,
whilk might gang ill down wi' my honest father. Only if ye could compass
a harmonious call frae the parish of Skreegh-me-dead, as ye anes had hope
of, I trow it wad please him weel; since I hae heard him say, that the
root of the matter was mair deeply hafted in that wild muirland parish
than in the Canongate of Edinburgh. I wish I had whaten books ye wanted,
Mr. Butler, for they hae haill houses of them here, and they are obliged
to set sum out in the street, whilk are sald cheap, doubtless, to get
them out of the weather. It is a muckle place, and I hae seen sae muckle
of it, that my poor head turns round. And ye ken langsyne, I am nae great
pen-woman, and it is near eleven o'clock o' the night. I am cumming down
in good company, and safe--and I had troubles in gaun up whilk makes me
blither of travelling wi' kend folk. My cousin, Mrs. Glass, has a braw
house here, but a' thing is sae poisoned wi' snuff, that I am like to be
scomfished whiles. But what signifies these things, in comparison of the
great deliverance whilk has been vouchsafed to my father's house, in
whilk you, as our auld and dear well-wisher, will, I dout not, rejoice
and be exceedingly glad. And I am, dear Mr. Butler, your sincere
well-wisher in temporal and eternal things,
                                                  "J. D."

After these labours of an unwonted kind, Jeanie retired to her bed, yet
scarce could sleep a few minutes together, so often was she awakened by
the heart-stirring consciousness of her sister's safety, and so
powerfully urged to deposit her burden of joy, where she had before laid
her doubts and sorrows, in the warm and sincere exercises of devotion.

All the next, and all the succeeding day, Mrs. Glass fidgeted about her
shop in the agony of expectation, like a pea (to use a vulgar simile
which her profession renders appropriate) upon one of her own tobacco
pipes. With the third morning came the expected coach, with four servants
clustered behind on the footboard, in dark brown and yellow liveries; the
Duke in person, with laced coat, gold-headed cane, star and garter, all,
as the story-book says, very grand.

He inquired for his little countrywoman of Mrs. Glass, but without
requesting to see her, probably because he was unwilling to give an
appearance of personal intercourse betwixt them, which scandal might have
misinterpreted. "The Queen," he said to Mrs. Glass, "had taken the case
of her kinswoman into her gracious consideration, and being specially
moved by the affectionate and resolute character of the elder sister, had
condescended to use her powerful intercession with his Majesty, in
consequence of which a pardon had been despatched to Scotland to Effie
Deans, on condition of her banishing herself forth of Scotland for
fourteen years. The King's Advocate had insisted," he said, "upon this
qualification of the pardon, having pointed out to his Majesty's
ministers, that, within the course of only seven years, twenty-one
instances of child-murder had occurred in Scotland.

"Weary on him!" said Mrs. Glass, "what for needed he to have telled that
of his ain country, and to the English folk abune a'? I used aye to think
the Advocate a douce decent man, but it is an ill bird*--begging your
Grace's pardon for speaking of such a coorse by-word.

* [It's an ill bird that fouls its own pest.]

And then what is the poor lassie to do in a foreign land?--Why, wae's me,
it's just sending her to play the same pranks ower again, out of sight or
guidance of her friends."

"Pooh! pooh!" said the Duke, "that need not be anticipated. Why, she may
come up to London, or she may go over to America, and marry well for all
that is come and gone."

"In troth, and so she may, as your Grace is pleased to intimate," replied
Mrs. Glass; "and now I think upon it, there is my old correspondent in
Virginia, Ephraim Buckskin, that has supplied the Thistle this forty
years with tobacco, and it is not a little that serves our turn, and he
has been writing to me this ten years to send him out a wife. The carle
is not above sixty, and hale and hearty, and well to pass in the world,
and a line from my hand would settle the matter, and Effie Deans's
misfortune (forby that there is no special occasion to speak about it)
would be thought little of there."

"Is she a pretty girl?" said the Duke; "her sister does not get beyond a
good comely sonsy lass."

"Oh, far prettier is Effie than Jeanie," said Mrs. Glass; "though it is
long since I saw her mysell, but I hear of the Deanses by all my Lowden
friends when they come--your Grace kens we Scots are clannish bodies."

"So much the better for us," said the Duke, "and the worse for those who
meddle with us, as your good old-fashioned sign says, Mrs. Glass. And now
I hope you will approve of the measures I have taken for restoring your
kinswoman to her friends." These he detailed at length, and Mrs. Glass
gave her unqualified approbation, with a smile and a courtesy at every
sentence. "And now, Mrs. Glass, you must tell Jeanie, I hope, she will
not forget my cheese when she gets down to Scotland. Archibald has my
orders to arrange all her expenses."

"Begging your Grace's humble pardon," said Mrs. Glass, "it is a pity to
trouble yourself about them; the Deanses are wealthy people in their way,
and the lass has money in her pocket."

"That's all very true," said the Duke; "but you know, where MacCallummore
travels he pays all; it is our Highland privilege to take from all what
_we_ want, and to give to all what _they_ want."

"Your Grace is better at giving than taking," said Mrs. Glass.

"To show you the contrary," said the Duke, "I will fill my box out of
this canister without paying you a bawbee;" and again desiring to be
remembered to Jeanie, with his good wishes for her safe journey, he
departed, leaving Mrs. Glass uplifted in heart and in countenance, the
proudest and happiest of tobacco and snuff dealers.

Reflectively, his Grace's good humour and affability had a favourable
effect upon Jeanie's situation.--Her kinswoman, though civil and kind to
her, had acquired too much of London breeding to be perfectly satisfied
with her cousin's rustic and national dress, and was, besides, something
scandalised at the cause of her journey to London. Mrs. Glass might,
therefore, have been less sedulous in her attentions towards Jeanie, but
for the interest which the foremost of the Scottish nobles (for such, in
all men's estimation, was the Duke of Argyle) seemed to take in her fate.
Now, however, as a kinswoman whose virtues and domestic affections had
attracted the notice and approbation of royalty itself, Jeanie stood to
her relative in a light very different and much more favourable, and was
not only treated with kindness, but with actual observance and respect.

It depended on herself alone to have made as many visits, and seen as
many sights, as lay within Mrs. Glass's power to compass. But, excepting
that she dined abroad with one or two "far away kinsfolk," and that she
paid the same respect, on Mrs. Glass's strong urgency, to Mrs. Deputy
Dabby, wife of the Worshipful Mr. Deputy Dabby, of Farringdon Without,
she did not avail herself of the opportunity. As Mrs. Dabby was the
second lady of great rank whom Jeanie had seen in London, she used
sometimes afterwards to draw a parallel betwixt her and the Queen, in
which she observed, "that Mrs. Dabby was dressed twice as grand, and was
twice as big, and spoke twice as loud, and twice as muckle, as the Queen
did, but she hadna the same goss-hawk glance that makes the skin creep,
and the knee bend; and though she had very kindly gifted her with a loaf
of sugar and twa punds of tea, yet she hadna a'thegither the sweet look
that the Queen had when she put the needle-book into her hand."

Jeanie might have enjoyed the sights and novelties of this great city
more, had it not been for the qualification added to her sister's pardon,
which greatly grieved her affectionate disposition. On this subject,
however, her mind was somewhat relieved by a letter which she received in
return of post, in answer to that which she had written to her father.
With his affectionate blessing, it brought his full approbation of the
step which she had taken, as one inspired by the immediate dictates of
Heaven, and which she had been thrust upon in order that she might become
the means of safety to a perishing household.

"If ever a deliverance was dear and precious, this," said the letter, "is
a dear and precious deliverance--and if life saved can be made more sweet
and savoury, it is when it cometh by the hands of those whom we hold in
the ties of affection. And do not let your heart be disquieted within
you, that this victim, who is rescued from the horns of the altar,
whereuntil she was fast bound by the chains of human law, is now to be
driven beyond the bounds of our land. Scotland is a blessed land to those
who love the ordinances of Christianity, and it is a faer land to look
upon, and dear to them who have dwelt in it a' their days; and weel said
that judicious Christian, worthy John Livingstone, a sailor in
Borrowstouness, as the famous Patrick Walker reporteth his words, that
howbeit he thought Scotland was a Gehennah of wickedness when he was at
home, yet when he was abroad, he accounted it ane paradise; for the evils
of Scotland he found everywhere, and the good of Scotland he found
nowhere. But we are to hold in remembrance that Scotland, though it be
our native land, and the land of our fathers, is not like Goshen, in
Egypt, on whilk the sun of the heavens and of the gospel shineth
allenarly, and leaveth the rest of the world in utter darkness.
Therefore, and also because this increase of profit at Saint Leonard's
Crags may be a cauld waff of wind blawing from the frozen land of earthly
self, where never plant of grace took root or grew, and because my
concerns make me take something ower muckle a grip of the gear of the
warld in mine arms, I receive this dispensation anent Effie as a call to
depart out of Haran, as righteous Abraham of old, and leave my father's
kindred and my mother's house, and the ashes and mould of them who have
gone to sleep before me, and which wait to be mingled with these auld
crazed bones of mine own. And my heart is lightened to do this, when I
call to mind the decay of active and earnest religion in this land, and
survey the height and the depth, the length and the breadth, of national
defections, and how the love of many is waxing lukewarm and cold; and I
am strengthened in this resolution to change my domicile likewise, as I
hear that store-farms are to be set at an easy mail in Northumberland,
where there are many precious souls that are of our true though suffering
persuasion. And sic part of the kye or stock as I judge it fit to keep,
may be driven thither without incommodity--say about Wooler, or that
gate, keeping aye a shouther to the hills,--and the rest may be sauld to
gude profit and advantage, if we had grace weel to use and guide these
gifts of the warld. The Laird has been a true friend on our unhappy
occasions, and I have paid him back the siller for Effie's misfortune,
whereof Mr. Nichil Novit returned him no balance, as the Laird and I did
expect he wad hae done. But law licks up a', as the common folk say. I
have had the siller to borrow out of sax purses. Mr. Saddletree advised
to give the Laird of Lounsbeck a charge on his hand for a thousand merks.
But I hae nae broo' of charges, since that awfu' morning that a tout of a
horn, at the Cross of Edinburgh, blew half the faithfu' ministers of
Scotland out of their pulpits. However, I sall raise an adjudication,
whilk Mr. Saddletree says comes instead of the auld apprisings, and will
not lose weel-won gear with the like of him, if it may be helped. As for
the Queen, and the credit that she hath done to a poor man's daughter,
and the mercy and the grace ye found with her, I can only pray for her
weel-being here and hereafter, for the establishment of her house now and
for ever, upon the throne of these kingdoms. I doubt not but what you
told her Majesty, that I was the same David Deans of whom there was a
sport at the Revolution, when I noited thegither the heads of twa false
prophets, these ungracious Graces the prelates, as they stood on the Hie
Street, after being expelled from the Convention-parliament.*

* Note P. Expulsion of the Scotch Bishops.

The Duke of Argyle is a noble and true-hearted nobleman, who pleads the
cause of the poor, and those who have none to help them; verily his
reward shall not be lacking unto him.--I have, been writing of many
things, but not of that whilk lies nearest mine heart. I have seen the
misguided thing, she will be at freedom the morn, on enacted caution that
she shall leave Scotland in four weeks. Her mind is in an evil
frame,--casting her eye backward on Egypt, I doubt, as if the bitter
waters of the wilderness were harder to endure than the brick furnaces,
by the side of which there were savoury flesh-pots. I need not bid you
make haste down, for you are, excepting always my Great Master, my only
comfort in these straits. I charge you to withdraw your feet from the
delusion of that Vanity-fair in whilk ye are a sojourner, and not to go
to their worship, whilk is an ill-mumbled mass, as it was weel termed by
James the Sext, though he afterwards, with his unhappy son, strove to
bring it ower back and belly into his native kingdom, wherethrough their
race have been cut off as foam upon the water, and shall be as wanderers
among the nations-see the prophecies of Hosea, ninth and seventeenth,
and the same, tenth and seventh. But us and our house, let us say with
the same prophet, 'Let us return to the Lord, for he hath torn, and he
will heal us--He hath smitten, and he will bind us up.'"

He proceeded to say, that he approved of her proposed mode of returning
by Glasgow, and entered into sundry minute particulars not necessary to
be quoted. A single line in the letter, but not the least frequently read
by the party to whom it was addressed, intimated, that "Reuben Butler had
been as a son to him in his sorrows." As David Deans scarce ever
mentioned Butler before, without some gibe, more or less direct, either
at his carnal gifts and learning, or at his grandfather's heresy, Jeanie
drew a good omen from no such qualifying clause being added to this
sentence respecting him.

A lover's hope resembles the bean in the nursery tale,--let it once take
root, and it will grow so rapidly, that in the course of a few hours the
giant Imagination builds a castle on the top, and by and by comes
Disappointment with the "curtal axe," and hews down both the plant and
the superstructure. Jeanie's fancy, though not the most powerful of her
faculties, was lively enough to transport her to a wild farm in
Northumberland, well stocked with milk-cows, yeald beasts, and sheep; a
meeting-house, hard by, frequented by serious Presbyterians, who had
united in a harmonious call to Reuben Butler to be their spiritual
guide--Effie restored, not to gaiety, but to cheerfulness at least--their
father, with his grey hairs smoothed down, and spectacles on his
nose--herself, with the maiden snood exchanged for a matron's curch--all
arranged in a pew in the said meeting-house, listening to words of
devotion, rendered sweeter and more powerful by the affectionate ties
which combined them with the preacher. She cherished such visions from
day to day, until her residence in London began to become insupportable
and tedious to her; and it was with no ordinary satisfaction that she
received a summons from Argyle House, requiring her in two days to be
prepared to join their northward party.



CHAPTER SIXTEENTH.

             One was a female, who had grievous ill
             Wrought in revenge, and she enjoy'd it still;
             Sullen she was, and threatening; in her eye
             Glared the stern triumph that she dared to die.
                                      Crabbe.

The summons of preparation arrived after Jeanie Deans had resided in the
metropolis about three weeks.

On the morning appointed she took a grateful farewell of Mrs. Glass, as
that good woman's attention to her particularly required, placed herself
and her movable goods, which purchases and presents had greatly
increased, in a hackney-coach, and joined her travelling companions in
the housekeeper's apartment at Argyle House. While the carriage was
getting ready, she was informed that the Duke wished to speak with her;
and being ushered into a splendid saloon, she was surprised to find that
he wished to present her to his lady and daughters.

"I bring you my little countrywoman, Duchess," these were the words of
the introduction. "With an army of young fellows, as gallant and steady
as she is, and, a good cause, I would not fear two to one."

"Ah, papa!" said a lively young lady, about twelve years old, "remember
you were full one to two at Sheriffmuir, and yet" (singing the well-known
ballad)--


"Some say that we wan, and some say that they wan,
And some say that nane wan at a', man
But of ae thing I'm sure, that on Sheriff-muir
A battle there was that I saw, man."

"What, little Mary turned Tory on my hands?--This will be fine news for
our countrywoman to carry down to Scotland!"

"We may all turn Tories for the thanks we have got for remaining Whigs,"
said the second young lady.

"Well, hold your peace, you discontented monkeys, and go dress your
babies; and as for the Bob of Dunblane,

           'If it wasna weel bobbit, weel bobbit, weel bobbit,
            If it wasna weel bobbit, we'll bob it again.'"

"Papa's wit is running low," said Lady Mary: "the poor gentleman is
repeating himself--he sang that on the field of battle, when he was told
the Highlanders had cut his left wing to pieces with their claymores."

A pull by the hair was the repartee to this sally.

"Ah! brave Highlanders and bright claymores," said the Duke, "well do I
wish them, 'for a' the ill they've done me yet,' as the song goes.--But
come, madcaps, say a civil word to your countrywoman--I wish ye had half
her canny hamely sense; I think you may be as leal and true-hearted."

The Duchess advanced, and, in a few words, in which there was as much
kindness as civility, assured Jeanie of the respect which she had for a
character so affectionate, and yet so firm, and added, "When you get
home, you will perhaps hear from me."

"And from me." "And from me." "And from me, Jeanie," added the young
ladies one after the other, "for you are a credit to the land we love so
well."

Jeanie, overpowered by these unexpected compliments, and not aware that
the Duke's investigation had made him acquainted with her behaviour on
her sister's trial, could only answer by blushing, and courtesying round
and round, and uttering at intervals, "Mony thanks! mony thanks!"

"Jeanie," said the Duke, "you must have _doch an' dorroch,_ or you will
be unable to travel."

There was a salver with cake and wine on the table. He took up a glass,
drank "to all true hearts that lo'ed Scotland," and offered a glass to
his guest.

Jeanie, however, declined it, saying, "that she had never tasted wine in
her life."

"How comes that, Jeanie?" said the Duke,--"wine maketh glad the heart,
you know."

"Ay, sir, but my father is like Jonadab the son of Rechab, who charged
his children that they should drink no wine."

"I thought your father would have had more sense," said the Duke, "unless
indeed he prefers brandy. But, however, Jeanie, if you will not drink,
you must eat, to save the character of my house."

He thrust upon her a large piece of cake, nor would he permit her to
break off a fragment, and lay the rest on a salver.

"Put it in your pouch, Jeanie," said he; "you will be glad of it before
you see St. Giles's steeple. I wish to Heaven I were to see it as soon as
you! and so my best service to all my friends at and about Auld Reekie,
and a blithe journey to you."

And, mixing the frankness of a soldier with his natural affability, he
shook hands with his prote'ge'e, and committed her to the charge of
Archibald, satisfied that he had provided sufficiently for her being
attended to by his domestics, from the unusual attention with which he
had himself treated her.

Accordingly, in the course of her journey, she found both her companions
disposed to pay her every possible civility, so that her return, in point
of comfort and safety, formed a strong contrast to her journey to London.

Her heart also was disburdened of the weight of grief, shame,
apprehension, and fear, which had loaded her before her interview with
the Queen at Richmond. But the human mind is so strangely capricious,
that, when freed from the pressure of real misery, it becomes open and
sensitive to the apprehension of ideal calamities. She was now much
disturbed in mind, that she had heard nothing from Reuben Butler, to whom
the operation of writing was so much more familiar than it was to
herself.

"It would have cost him sae little fash," she said to herself; "for I hae
seen his pen gan as fast ower the paper, as ever it did ower the water
when it was in the grey goose's wing. Wae's me! maybe he may be
badly--but then my father wad likely hae said somethin about it--Or
maybe he may hae taen the rue, and kensna how to let me wot of his
change of mind. He needna be at muckle fash about it,"--she went on,
drawing herself up, though the tear of honest pride and injured
affection gathered in her eye, as she entertained the suspicion,--
"Jeanie Deans is no the lass to pu' him by the sleeve, or put him in
mind of what he wishes to forget. I shall wish him weel and happy a' the
same; and if he has the luck to get a kirk in our country, I sall gang
and hear him just the very same, to show that I bear nae malice." And as
she imagined the scene, the tear stole over her eye.

In these melancholy reveries, Jeanie had full time to indulge herself;
for her travelling companions, servants in a distinguished and
fashionable family, had, of course, many topics of conversation, in which
it was absolutely impossible she could have either pleasure or portion.
She had, therefore, abundant leisure for reflection, and even for
self-tormenting, during the several days which, indulging the young
horses the Duke was sending down to the North with sufficient ease and
short stages, they occupied in reaching the neighbourhood of Carlisle.

In approaching the vicinity of that ancient city, they discerned a
considerable crowd upon an eminence at a little distance from the high
road, and learned from some passengers who were gathering towards that
busy scene from the southward, that the cause of the concourse was, the
laudable public desire "to see a doomed Scotch witch and thief get half
of her due upo' Haribeebroo' yonder, for she was only to be hanged; she
should hae been boorned aloive, an' cheap on't."

"Dear Mr. Archibald," said the dame of the dairy elect, "I never seed a
woman hanged in a' my life, and only four men, as made a goodly
spectacle."

Mr. Archibald, however, was a Scotchman, and promised himself no
exuberant pleasure in seeing his countrywoman undergo "the terrible
behests of law." Moreover, he was a man of sense and delicacy in his way,
and the late circumstances of Jeanie's family, with the cause of her
expedition to London, were not unknown to him; so that he answered drily,
it was impossible to stop, as he must be early at Carlisle on some
business of the Duke's, and he accordingly bid the postilions get on.

The road at that time passed at about a quarter of a mile's distance from
the eminence, called Haribee or Harabee-brow, which, though it is very
moderate in size and height, is nevertheless seen from a great distance
around, owing to the flatness of the country through which the Eden
flows. Here many an outlaw, and border-rider of both kingdoms, had
wavered in the wind during the wars, and scarce less hostile truces,
between the two countries. Upon Harabee, in latter days, other executions
had taken place with as little ceremony as compassion; for these frontier
provinces remained long unsettled, and, even at the time of which we
write, were ruder than those in the centre of England.

The postilions drove on, wheeling as the Penrith road led them, round the
verge of the rising ground. Yet still the eyes of Mrs. Dolly Dutton,
which, with the head and substantial person to which they belonged, were
all turned towards the scene of action, could discern plainly the outline
of the gallows-tree, relieved against the clear sky, the dark shade
formed by the persons of the executioner and the criminal upon the light
rounds of the tall aerial ladder, until one of the objects, launched into
the air, gave unequivocal signs of mortal agony, though appearing in the
distance not larger than a spider dependent at the extremity of his
invisible thread, while the remaining form descended from its elevated
situation, and regained with all speed an undistinguished place among the
crowd. This termination of the tragic scene drew forth of course a squall
from Mrs. Dutton, and Jeanie, with instinctive curiosity, turned her head
in the same direction.

The sight of a female culprit in the act of undergoing the fatal
punishment from which her beloved sister had been so recently rescued,
was too much, not perhaps for her nerves, but for her mind and feelings.
She turned her head to the other side of the carriage, with a sensation
of sickness, of loathing, and of fainting. Her female companion
overwhelmed her with questions, with proffers of assistance, with
requests that the carriage might be stopped--that a doctor might be
fetched--that drops might be gotten--that burnt feathers and asafoetida,
fair water, and hartshorn, might be procured, all at once, and without
one instant's delay. Archibald, more calm and considerate, only desired
the carriage to push forward; and it was not till they had got beyond
sight of the fatal spectacle, that, seeing the deadly paleness of
Jeanie's countenance, he stopped the carriage, and jumping out himself,
went in search of the most obvious and most easily procured of Mrs.
Dutton's pharmacopoeia--a draught, namely, of fair water.

While Archibald was absent on this good-natured piece of service, damning
the ditches which produced nothing but mud, and thinking upon the
thousand bubbling springlets of his own mountains, the attendants on the
execution began to pass the stationary vehicle in their way back to
Carlisle.

From their half-heard and half-understood words, Jeanie, whose attention
was involuntarily rivetted by them, as that of children is by ghost
stories, though they know the pain with which they will afterwards
remember them, Jeanie, I say, could discern that the present victim of
the law had died game, as it is termed by those unfortunates; that is,
sullen, reckless, and impenitent, neither fearing God nor regarding man.

"A sture woife, and a dour," said one Cumbrian peasant, as he clattered
by in his wooden brogues, with a noise like the trampling of a
dray-horse.

"She has gone to ho master, with ho's name in her mouth," said another;
"Shame the country should be harried wi' Scotch witches and Scotch
bitches this gate--but I say hang and drown."

"Ay, ay, Gaffer Tramp, take awa yealdon, take awa low--hang the witch,
and there will be less scathe amang us; mine owsen hae been reckan this
towmont."

"And mine bairns hae been crining too, mon," replied his neighbour.

"Silence wi' your fule tongues, ye churls," said an old woman, who
hobbled past them, as they stood talking near the carriage; "this was nae
witch, but a bluidy-fingered thief and murderess."

"Ay? was it e'en sae, Dame Hinchup?" said one in a civil tone, and
stepping out of his place to let the old woman pass along the
footpath--"Nay, you know best, sure--but at ony rate, we hae but
tint a Scot of her, and that's a thing better lost than found."

The old woman passed on without making any answer.

"Ay, ay, neighbour," said Gaffer Tramp, "seest thou how one witch will
speak for t'other--Scots or English, the same to them."

His companion shook his head, and replied in the same subdued tone, "Ay,
ay, when a Sark-foot wife gets on her broomstick, the dames of Allonby
are ready to mount, just as sure as the by-word gangs o' the hills,--

                   If Skiddaw hath a cap,
                   Criffel, wots full weel of that."

"But," continued Gager Tramp, "thinkest thou the daughter o' yon hangit
body isna as rank a witch as ho?"

"I kenna clearly," returned the fellow, "but the folk are speaking o'
swimming her i' the Eden." And they passed on their several roads, after
wishing each other good-morning.

Just as the clowns left the place, and as Mr. Archibald returned with
some fair water, a crowd of boys and girls, and some of the lower rabble
of more mature age, came up from the place of execution, grouping
themselves with many a yell of delight around a tall female fantastically
dressed, who was dancing, leaping, and bounding in the midst of them. A
horrible recollection pressed on Jeanie as she looked on this unfortunate
creature; and the reminiscence was mutual, for by a sudden exertion of
great strength and agility, Madge Wildfire broke out of the noisy circle
of tormentors who surrounded her, and clinging fast to the door of the
calash, uttered, in a sound betwixt laughter and screaming, "Eh, d'ye
ken, Jeanie Deans, they hae hangit our mother?" Then suddenly changing
her tone to that of the most piteous entreaty, she added, "O gar them let
me gang to cut her down!--let me but cut her down!--she is my mother, if
she was waur than the deil, and she'll be nae mair kenspeckle than
half-hangit Maggie Dickson,* that cried saut mony a day after she had
been hangit; her voice was roupit and hoarse, and her neck was a wee
agee, or ye wad hae kend nae odds on her frae ony other saut-wife."

* Note Q. Half-hanged Maggie Dickson.

Mr. Archibald, embarrassed by the madwoman's clinging to the carriage,
and detaining around them her noisy and mischievous attendants, was all
this while looking out for a constable or beadle, to whom he might commit
the unfortunate creature. But seeing no such person of authority, he
endeavoured to loosen her hold from the carriage, that they might escape
from her by driving on. This, however, could hardly be achieved without
some degree of violence; Madge held fast, and renewed her frantic
entreaties to be permitted to cut down her mother. "It was but a tenpenny
tow lost," she said, "and what was that to a woman's life?" There came
up, however, a parcel of savage-looking fellows, butchers and graziers
chiefly, among whose cattle there had been of late a very general and
fatal distemper, which their wisdom imputed to witchcraft. They laid
violent hands on Madge, and tore her from the carriage, exclaiming--
"What, doest stop folk o' king's high-way? Hast no done mischief enow
already, wi' thy murders and thy witcherings?"

"Oh, Jeanie Deans--Jeanie Deans!" exclaimed the poor maniac, "save my
mother, and I will take ye to the Interpreter's house again,--and I will
teach ye a' my bonny sangs,--and I will tell ye what came o' the." The
rest of her entreaties were drowned in the shouts of the rabble.

"Save her, for God's sake!--save her from those people!" exclaimed Jeanie
to Archibald.

"She is mad, but quite innocent; she is mad, gentlemen," said Archibald;
"do not use her ill, take her before the Mayor."

"Ay, ay, we'se hae care enow on her," answered one of the fellows; "gang
thou thy gate, man, and mind thine own matters."

"He's a Scot by his tongue," said another; "and an he will come out o'
his whirligig there, I'se gie him his tartan plaid fu' o' broken banes."

It was clear nothing could be done to rescue Madge; and Archibald, who
was a man of humanity, could only bid the postilions hurry on to
Carlisle, that he might obtain some assistance to the unfortunate woman.
As they drove off, they heard the hoarse roar with which the mob preface
acts of riot or cruelty, yet even above that deep and dire note, they
could discern the screams of the unfortunate victim. They were soon out
of hearing of the cries, but had no sooner entered the streets of
Carlisle, than Archibald, at Jeanie's earnest and urgent entreaty, went
to a magistrate, to state the cruelty which was likely to be exercised on
this unhappy creature.

In about an hour and a half he returned, and reported to Jeanie, that the
magistrate had very readily gone in person, with some assistance, to the
rescue of the unfortunate woman, and that he had himself accompanied him;
that when they came to the muddy pool, in which the mob were ducking her,
according to their favourite mode of punishment, the magistrate succeeded
in rescuing her from their hands, but in a state of insensibility, owing
to the cruel treatment which she had received. He added, that he had seen
her carried to the workhouse, and understood that she had been brought to
herself, and was expected to do well.

This last averment was a slight alteration in point of fact, for Madge
Wildfire was not expected to survive the treatment she had received; but
Jeanie seemed so much agitated, that Mr. Archibald did not think it
prudent to tell her the worst at once. Indeed, she appeared so fluttered
and disordered by this alarming accident, that, although it had been
their intention to proceed to Longtown that evening, her companions
judged it most advisable to pass the night at Carlisle.

This was particularly agreeable to Jeanie, who resolved, if possible, to
procure an interview with Madge Wildfire. Connecting some of her wild
flights with the narrative of George Staunton, she was unwilling to omit
the opportunity of extracting from her, if possible, some information
concerning the fate of that unfortunate infant which had cost her sister
so dear. Her acquaintance with the disordered state of poor Madge's mind
did not permit her to cherish much hope that she could acquire from her
any useful intelligence; but then, since Madge's mother had suffered her
deserts, and was silent for ever, it was her only chance of obtaining any
kind of information, and she was loath to lose the opportunity.

She coloured her wish to Mr. Archibald by saying that she had seen Madge
formerly, and wished to know, as a matter of humanity, how she was
attended to under her present misfortunes. That complaisant person
immediately went to the workhouse, or hospital, in which he had seen the
sufferer lodged, and brought back for reply, that the medical attendants
positively forbade her seeing any one. When the application for
admittance was repeated next day, Mr. Archibald was informed that she had
been very quiet and composed, insomuch that the clergyman who acted as
chaplain to the establishment thought it expedient to read prayers beside
her bed, but that her wandering fit of mind had returned soon after his
departure; however, her countrywoman might see her if she chose it. She
was not expected to live above an hour or two.

Jeanie had no sooner received this information than she hastened to the
hospital, her companions attending her. They found the dying person in a
large ward, where there were ten beds, of which the patient's was the
only one occupied.

Madge was singing when they entered--singing her own wild snatches of
songs and obsolete airs, with a voice no longer overstrained by false
spirits, but softened, saddened, and subdued by bodily exhaustion. She
was still insane, but was no longer able to express her wandering ideas
in the wild notes of her former state of exalted imagination. There was
death in the plaintive tones of her voice, which yet, in this moderated
and melancholy mood, had something of the lulling sound with which a
mother sings her infant asleep. As Jeanie entered she heard first the
air, and then a part of the chorus and words, of what had been, perhaps,
the song of a jolly harvest-home.

                 "Our work is over--over now,
                   The goodman wipes his weary brow,
                  The last long wain wends slow away,
                   And we are free to sport and play.

                "The night comes on when sets the sun,
                   And labour ends when day is done.
                 When Autumn's gone and Winter's come,
                   We hold our jovial harvest-home."

Jeanie advanced to the bedside when the strain was finished, and
addressed Madge by her name. But it produced no symptoms of recollection.
On the contrary, the patient, like one provoked by interruption, changed
her posture, and called out with an impatient tone, "Nurse--nurse, turn
my face to the wa', that I may never answer to that name ony mair, and
never see mair of a wicked world."

The attendant on the hospital arranged her in her bed as she desired,
with her face to the wall and her back to the light. So soon as she was
quiet in this new position, she began again to sing in the same low and
modulated strains, as if she was recovering the state of abstraction
which the interruption of her visitants had disturbed. The strain,
however, was different, and rather resembled the music of the Methodist
hymns, though the measure of the song was similar to that of the former:

                  "When the fight of grace is fought--
                  When the marriage vest is wrought--
                  When Faith hath chased cold Doubt away,
                  And Hope but sickens at delay--

                 "When Charity, imprisoned here,
                  Longs for a more expanded sphere,
                     Doff thy robes of sin and clay;
                     Christian, rise, and come away."

The strain was solemn and affecting, sustained as it was by the pathetic
warble of a voice which had naturally been a fine one, and which
weakness, if it diminished its power, had improved in softness.
Archibald, though a follower of the court, and a pococurante by
profession, was confused, if not affected; the dairy-maid blubbered; and
Jeanie felt the tears rise spontaneously to her eyes. Even the nurse,
accustomed to all modes in which the spirit can pass, seemed considerably
moved.

The patient was evidently growing weaker, as was intimated by an apparent
difficulty of breathing, which seized her from time to time, and by the
utterance of low listless moans, intimating that nature was succumbing in
the last conflict. But the spirit of melody, which must originally have
so strongly possessed this unfortunate young woman, seemed, at every
interval of ease, to triumph over her pain and weakness. And it was
remarkable that there could always be traced in her songs something
appropriate, though perhaps only obliquely or collaterally so, to her
present situation. Her next seemed the fragment of some old ballad:

                 "Cauld is my bed, Lord Archibald,
                      And sad my sleep of sorrow;
                  But thine sall be as sad and cauld,
                     My fause true-love! to-morrow.

                "And weep ye not, my maidens free,
                 Though death your mistress borrow;
                     For he for whom I die to-day
                     Shall die for me to-morrow."

Again she changed the tune to one wilder, less monotonous, and less
regular. But of the words, only a fragment or two could be collected by
those who listened to this singular scene:

                     "Proud Maisie is in the wood,
                           Walking so early;
                     Sweet Robin sits on the bush,
                           Singing so rarely.

                   "'Tell me, thou bonny bird.
                        When shall I marry me?'
                       'When six braw gentlemen
                        Kirkward shall carry ye.'

                   "'Who makes the bridal bed,
                        Birdie, say truly?'--
                       'The grey-headed sexton,
                        That delves the grave duly.

                  "The glow-worm o'er grave and stone
                       Shall light thee steady;
                   The owl from the steeple sing,
                       'Welcome, proud lady.'"

Her voice died away with the last notes, and she fell into a slumber,
from which the experienced attendant assured them that she never would
awake at all, or only in the death agony.

The nurse's prophecy proved true. The poor maniac parted with existence,
without again uttering a sound of any kind. But our travellers did not
witness this catastrophe. They left the hospital as soon as Jeanie had
satisfied herself that no elucidation of her sister's misfortunes was to
be hoped from the dying person.*

* Note R. Madge Wildfire.



CHAPTER SEVENTEENTH.

                 Wilt thou go on with me?
                 The moon is bright, the sea is calm,
                 And I know well the ocean paths . . .
                       Thou wilt go on with me!
                                          Thalaba.

The fatigue and agitation of these various scenes had agitated Jeanie so
much, notwithstanding her robust strength of constitution, that Archibald
judged it necessary that she should have a day's repose at the village of
Longtown. It was in vain that Jeanie protested against any delay. The
Duke of Argyle's man of confidence was of course consequential; and as he
had been bred to the medical profession in his youth (at least he used
this expression to describe his having, thirty years before, pounded for
six months in the mortar of old Mungo Mangleman, the surgeon at
Greenock), he was obstinate whenever a matter of health was in question.

In this case he discovered febrile symptoms, and having once made a happy
application of that learned phrase to Jeanie's case, all farther
resistance became in vain; and she was glad to acquiesce, and even to go
to bed, and drink water-gruel, in order that she might possess her soul
in quiet and without interruption.

Mr. Archibald was equally attentive in another particular. He observed
that the execution of the old woman, and the miserable fate of her
daughter, seemed to have had a more powerful effect upon Jeanie's mind,
than the usual feelings of humanity might naturally have been expected to
occasion. Yet she was obviously a strong-minded, sensible young woman,
and in no respect subject to nervous affections; and therefore Archibald,
being ignorant of any special connection between his master's prote'ge'e
and these unfortunate persons, excepting that she had seen Madge formerly
in Scotland, naturally imputed the strong impression these events had
made upon her, to her associating them with the unhappy circumstances in
which her sister had so lately stood. He became anxious, therefore, to
prevent anything occurring which might recall these associations to
Jeanie's mind.

Archibald had speedily an opportunity of exercising this precaution. A
pedlar brought to Longtown that evening, amongst other wares, a large
broad-side sheet, giving an account of the "Last Speech and Execution of
Margaret Murdockson, and of the barbarous Murder of her Daughter,
Magdalene or Madge Murdockson, called Madge Wildfire; and of her pious
conversation with his Reverence Archdeacon Fleming;" which authentic
publication had apparently taken place on the day they left Carlisle, and
being an article of a nature peculiarly acceptable to such country-folk
as were within hearing of the transaction, the itinerant bibliopolist had
forthwith added them to his stock in trade. He found a merchant sooner
than he expected; for Archibald, much applauding his own prudence,
purchased the whole lot for two shillings and ninepence; and the pedlar,
delighted with the profit of such a wholesale transaction, instantly
returned to Carlisle to supply himself with more.

The considerate Mr. Archibald was about to commit his whole purchase to
the flames, but it was rescued by the yet more considerate dairy-damsel,
who said, very prudently, it was a pity to waste so much paper, which
might crepe hair, pin up bonnets, and serve many other useful purposes;
and who promised to put the parcel into her own trunk, and keep it
carefully out of the sight of Mrs. Jeanie Deans: "Though, by-the-bye, she
had no great notion of folk being so very nice. Mrs. Deans might have had
enough to think about the gallows all this time to endure a sight of it,
without all this to-do about it."

Archibald reminded the dame of the dairy of the Duke's particular charge,
that they should be attentive and civil to Jeanie as also that they were
to part company soon, and consequently would not be doomed to observing
any one's health or temper during the rest of the journey. With which
answer Mrs. Dolly Dutton was obliged to hold herself satisfied. On the
morning they resumed their journey, and prosecuted it successfully,
travelling through Dumfriesshire and part of Lanarkshire, until they
arrived at the small town of Rutherglen, within about four miles of
Glasgow. Here an express brought letters to Archibald from the principal
agent of the Duke of Argyle in Edinburgh.

He said nothing of their contents that evening; but when they were seated
in the carriage the next day, the faithful squire informed Jeanie, that
he had received directions from the Duke's factor, to whom his Grace had
recommended him to carry her, if she had no objection, for a stage or two
beyond Glasgow. Some temporary causes of discontent had occasioned
tumults in that city and the neighbourhood, which would render it
unadvisable for Mrs. Jeanie Deans to travel alone and unprotected betwixt
that city and Edinburgh; whereas, by going forward a little farther, they
would meet one of his Grace's subfactors, who was coming down from the
Highlands to Edinburgh with his wife, and under whose charge she might
journey with comfort and in safety.

Jeanie remonstrated against this arrangement. "She had been lang," she
said, "frae hame--her father and her sister behoved to be very anxious to
see her--there were other friends she had that werena weel in health. She
was willing to pay for man and horse at Glasgow, and surely naebody wad
meddle wi' sae harmless and feckless a creature as she was.--She was
muckle obliged by the offer; but never hunted deer langed for its
resting-place as I do to find myself at Saint Leonard's."

The groom of the chambers exchanged a look with his female companion,
which seemed so full of meaning, that Jeanie screamed aloud--"O Mr.
Archibald--Mrs. Dutton, if ye ken of onything that has happened at Saint
Leonard's, for God's sake--for pity's sake, tell me, and dinna keep me in
suspense!"

"I really know nothing, Mrs. Deans," said the groom of the chambers.

"And I--I--I am sure, I knows as little," said the dame of the dairy,
while some communication seemed to tremble on her lips, which, at a
glance of Archibald's eye, she appeared to swallow down, and compressed
her lips thereafter into a state of extreme and vigilant firmness, as if
she had been afraid of its bolting out before she was aware.

Jeanie saw there was to be something concealed from her, and it was only
the repeated assurances of Archibald that her father--her sister--all her
friends were, as far as he knew, well and happy, that at all pacified her
alarm. From such respectable people as those with whom she travelled she
could apprehend no harm, and yet her distress was so obvious, that
Archibald, as a last resource, pulled out, and put into her hand, a slip
of paper, on which these words were written:--

"Jeanie Deans--You will do me a favour by going with Archibald and my
female domestic a day's journey beyond Glasgow, and asking them no
questions, which will greatly oblige your friend, 'Argyle & Greenwich.'"

Although this laconic epistle, fr